Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Roasted Garlic Mung Bean Soup




Mung beans are small legumes most commonly used in Asian and African cooking.  The green legumes can be found in most Asian food stores and are becoming more common on the shelves of major grocery chains in the U.S.  Mung beans can also be yellow and black in color, but I found those to be rare.

For this soup dish, I combined roasted garlic with mung beans boiled in chicken broth flavored with onions, bell peppers, coriander and cumin.   The cooked ingredients are then combined in a food processor or blender to create a smooth texture. The blended soup is then returned to a sauce pan to briefly simmer with added broth and spinach leaves.  Optional crumbles of bacon and parsley garnish the dish when served.

Tip: For a vegetarian version substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth and omit the bacon.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Special Tools: Large Food Processor or Blender

Ingredients:

1 Head Garlic Clove (whole)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
1 Medium Onion chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Cup Mung Beans
5 Cups Chicken Broth (divided)
2 Bacon Slices
4 oz. Fresh Baby Spinach leaves
Parsley chopped to garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Slice the top off the head of garlic to expose the garlic meat inside.  Discard the sliced off top.  Coat the top side of a small 5 x 5 inch piece of aluminum foil with olive oil.  Place the head of garlic exposed side down onto the aluminum foil.  Place it in the oven and bake the garlic for 25 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.  The garlic will shrink when roasted and will easily fall out of its skin when lightly squeezed.

While the garlic bakes, heat the remaining olive oil over high heat in a large sauce pan (about 3 quarts in size).   Toss in the onions and bell peppers and sauté until the onions are soft (about 8 minutes).  Add the coriander and cumin and sauté for one more minute. Add the mung beans to the sauce pan with 3 cups chicken broth.   Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 25 minutes or until the mung beans are soft and fully cooked.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

While the mung beans cool, cook the bacon over high heat on a hot skillet.  Bacon should cook to a nice crisp (about 1-2 minutes on each side).  Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel to cool and crisp.

In a large food processor or blender, add the roasted garlic and pour in the mung bean soup.   Blend the ingredients on high speed until the ingredients are smooth in texture.   Return the blended soup to the sauce pan.  Stir in the remaining 2 cups chicken broth and the baby spinach.   Cover the sauce pan and place over high heat to reheat the soup and wilt the spinach leaves (about 5 minutes).

Ladle the soup onto bowls, crumble a little bit of bacon over each bowl along with some chopped parsley to garnish.  Serve and enjoy.

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