Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beans and Whey Soup

Because we're starting GAPS again, and because I have some idea of what to expect of it from the last time, I decided 2 things. #1 I'm going to use my crockpot as much as humanly possible for dinner preparation, and #2 lunch will be soup. Period. I have WAYYY too much to do during the day to be preparing 3 GAPS meals from scratch every day, and I know my boys are going to fight me on drinking broth, which is an intrgral part of the diet. They'll fight me on soup, too, but there's more variety in hearty meal soups than in meat broth day after day. Soup is easy to prepare in large quantities and freeze in smaller portions, and besides that, since Nathan will be joining us on the diet, I need to have something easy for him to carry with him. That means soups and salads will have to be mainstays in his lunch repetoir.

So, needless to say, I have been scouring Pinterest and the Internet, at large for soup recipes that are either GAPS friendly, or can be tweaked to suit our needs. The other day I had a large quantity of Whey leftover from making some Whole Milk Ricotta. Whey is a nutrient dense food and I knew that I didn't want to throw it away! I also know that I will be making large quantities of Kefir Cheese while we're on GAPS and I will have lots of whey left over from that, so I needed to find a good way to use it up. That led to a search for soups with a whey base. This is one of the recipes I found. I tweaked it quite a bit because of what I had on hand. It ended up delish, and I will definitely be making it again! Here's my recipe:

BEANS AND WHEY SOUP (with greens)

1 cup white beans
1tsp. vinegar or lemon juice
good quality bone broth
1 bay leaf
1 lb. ground meat of choice (I used venison)
1 tsp dried rosemary

pinch red pepper
pinch sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 md. onion, coarsly chopped
2 carrots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced

whey (about 1-1 1/2  quarts)

1-3 bunches leafy greens, coarsly chopped, or 1 can cooked greens
1/4 cup grated hard cheese such Parmesan or Romano, optional

Cover dried beans until water is about 1" higher than the beans. Add 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice and let soak at least 12 hours, or overnight. Drain, rinse and put in a pot. (Alternately you can follow the directions for fermented white beans in the GAPS book and then continue with the recipe)

In a large soup pot, just cover the beans with bone broth. I used turkey, because that's what I happened to have on hand, but beef, venison, chicken, fish, goose, duck ... you get the picture  ;) ... will be fine. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil, cover, lower temp and simmer for up to 8 hours, or more if you like. Peak in on them once in a while to make sure your broth hasn't boiled away!

Meanwhile, in a large heavy pan, brown your ground meat with the spices, salt and pepper. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook until the carrots start to soften. Remove bay leaf from the beans and discard. Add meat mixture to beans, and stir in your whey. The ammount isn't exact. Just get the soup to the consistency you want. Put the greens into your heavy pan over med-low heat and cover until wilted. Add wilted greens to soup pot, stir. Allow to simmer for a few minutes before serving. Just before serving, add optional cheese.

Optionally serve with a dollop of cultured cream, sauerkraut , or other cultured vegetable.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you try it and like it, leave me a comment :D

How about you? If you have any really great soup recipes I'd love to see/try them! Leave a link in the comments!