Sunday, May 3, 2009

What's Old Is New

My very thoughtful, and wonderful neighbors brought me over a container of soup today. Red Pottage…a soup that is so old it can be traced back to the bible (Genesis 25:30), now that’s old!

Up until a couple of years ago, I had never even had a beet. I remember when I was a little girl my grandfather used to eat them and always tried to get me to have a taste, “try them,” he’d say, “they taste like candied apples.” I didn’t bite, ever! I just crinkled up my nose, and went to see what my grandmother had baking in the kitchen. Today, I look forward to discovering the different ways in which I can enjoy them!

When my neighbor left, I started to think of my grandfather, then instinctively of the vegetables that seem to be so sought after these days, and the lifestyle that is once again gaining popularity. Heirloom vegetables, and a newfound focus on locally grown produce seem to be the order of the day.  It seems as if we have come full circle in my lifetime.  Having gone from a life of modest simplicity to one where there is access to abundance.  But today, I am seeing a subtle change where seemingly many are leaning toward simplicity once again.    It makes sense, in the complexity, and challenges of our world, that old, is once again new, that we are embracing the simplicity of our parents and grandparents.

I really enjoyed the pottage and the memories that came with it.   The texture was similar to split pea soup, and it had a rich, sweet, earthy taste that paid tribute to both beet, and bean.
Red Pottage ala Therese and Eric
Adapted from Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant

1-½ cups dried kidney beans
½ cup dried black beans
7 cups water
2 medium beets, peeled and cubed
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2 ½ cups un-drained canned whole tomatoes (28-ounce can)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

  • Sort and rinse the beans. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, and the beans to a boil.
  • Cover and simmer gently for 1-½ hours. Add the chopped beets, and continue simmer for another ½ hour or until both the beets, and beans are tender.
  • Add more water if needed, to keep the beans covered in liquid.
  • Meanwhile, sauté’ the onions in the oil until translucent, add the celery, salt, black pepper, and cayenne, and continue cooking until the celery is tender.
  • Add the tomato, and lemon juice. Lower the heat and gently simmer until the tomatoes are well stewed.
  • Stir the stewed vegetables into the beans. In a blender or food processor, puree soup, stirring frequently. Adjust the salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Serve garnished with a mint leaf, and a dollop of sour cream or with croutons.

1 comment:

  1. Nice story, Joy. Glad you enjoyed the pottage.