Ross Dobson’s wholefood kitchen, 160pp.
by Ross Dobson
Ryland Peters and Small, London, 2010
Cooking on page 32–33
I’ve made a Ross Dobson page-32 recipe (fish) before and it was sensational, so I couldn’t resist checking this out from the local library.
All the recipes in this book include beans, lentils, grains or other natural foods. I was surprised to find that the recipe on page 32 was also the recipe pictured on the front cover. Mine looked a little different.
Three sisters soup
50 g dried butter beans
4 ripe Italian plum tomatoes (such as Roma)
1 large fresh jalapeño chilli
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cobs of fresh sweetcorn, shucked
100 g small yellow squash (pattypan or similar), quartered
100 g fine green beans, trimmed and halved
500 ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
a handful of fresh coriander springs, roughly chopped
Soak the butter beans in cold water overnight. Drain and put in a large saucepan with sufficient cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, until tender. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7.
Put the tomatoes, chilli and garlic on a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for about 10–15 minutes, until the skins darken and begin to blister. Remove the baking tray from the oven, transfer everything to a clean plastic bag and seal. When cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes, chilli and garlic. Discard the skins and coarsely chop the flesh. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and sweetcorn with a pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often until softened. Stir in the tomato mixture, squash, green beans, butter beans and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the green beans are tender. Stir in the lime juice, garnish with a few pieces of coriander sprig and serve.
How it played out
This is one of two soup recipes I made for my friend, Lindsay, when her mum was dying earlier this year. The other one was also bean-based and from the Share cookbook.
I didn’t bother starting with dried butter beans because I had a tinned version in the cupboard, waiting to be used.
Plus, I couldn’t find a jalapeño chilli (they aren’t as common in Australia as they are in the USA) so made do with a long green chilli.
Followed everything else and was glad I did.
This was one of two recipes I made and delivered to a friend’s house as a contribution in a time of need. Her mum had died, and I grew up knowing that the only thing you can do in the face of death is cook and feed people.
I didn’t have a bowlful of this soup, but I sneaked a spoonful and thought it tasted delicious, and my friend and her family agreed. The other contribution was a very yummy pasta and bean soup.
Oh, and the three sisters title links to American Indian lore about the importance of beans, corn and squash. I thought it was because I have three sisters!
Lore from other lands
If you’re interested in lore and food from others lands, please check out my travel blog. Here’s a short entry about street food in Cambodia.