The weather has cooled slightly. While I’m looking forward to the sun coming back, I try to consider the positives of what is a typical June in the Northwest. I planted some grass seed early yesterday because the forecast is projecting the perfect combination of rain showers off and on for the next several days mixed with sunshine. Granted, the planting occurred during some of those rain showers but the Bull in me comes out strong when I’m in the midst of a project. Just ask my sister. She was the rather overwhelmed recipient of my ‘go until it all gets done’ attitude last week when I helped her move.
Another bonus of cooler weather is soups. I have so many soup recipes that I love to eat. I’m not a big fan of putting soup together because there tends to be so much chopping involved but I enjoy the results. Most soups also freeze well for lunches. The following recipe was originally a Navy Bean Soup that called for ham. If you prefer, put it back in (½ pound chopped ham). Decades ago my oldest brother routinely devoured a ham and broccoli soup I would make so I know what it tastes like but, as I’ve said before, I’ll take salmon any which way and smoked is a wonderful way. It even looks like ham in the picture I took.
Wine pairing: Traditionally, smoked foods are less finicky with a white wine like Riesling or Pinot Grigio but Pinot Noir is salvation for a Red Wine gal like myself. The fruitiness of this varietal holds up well to the natural sweetness of smoked salmon but be sure to lean toward a less oaky Pinot Noir. You’re looking for light and fruity not heavy and tannic. Living so close to the Willamette Valley and Pinot country, there are many wonderful Pinot Noirs to choose from that will compliment this dish.
Navy Bean Soup
1 (16 ounce) package dried navy beans*
6 C water
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cubes chicken bouillon
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Couple dashes hot sauce to taste
3 C water (optional)
½ pound smoked salmon
Combine beans, water, vegetables and seasonings in a stock pot; bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for two hours.* Add an additional two to four cups water.** Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for an additional 1 ½ hours. Chop salmon and add to soup for additional 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Makes 8-10 servings (with added water)
*I soak beans in a large bowl of water on the counter for 8 hours and only cook them for two hours. If you put them in a bowl in the morning, they’re ready by 4pm or soak them overnight, drain in AM & put in fridge ’til ready to use.
**I do not add any water past the first 6 cups.
Recipe modified from Navy Bean Soup 1 at www.allrecipes.com