Plan ahead for your Easter feast! I read an article in The New Yorker magazine regarding a letter from Ecuador by Calvin Trillin about a Spanish soup that he adores called Fanesca, a thick and hearty soup heavy on the beans, which is only available during holy week. Well, the article didn't come with a recipe but I found several on-line, all more or less the same. Don't let the number of ingredients put you off, it will come together relatively quickly. Seeing as how I'm a vegetarian, I omitted the salt cod but I am leaving it here in case you are not but making it an optional addition. If you do add it then you'll have to start this recipe the day before. Note that the rice, beans and vegetables should all be cooked before adding and that will take you less than an hour if they are all cooked simultaneously (see instructions). If you cook everything ahead of time this recipe comes together in 15 minutes. Anyway, I made this on Saturday, day before Easter and we both loved it:D
- 1 lb salt cod fish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup long-grain rice, cooked in
- 1 cup milk, and
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup corn kernel, cooked
- 2 1⁄2 cups cabbage, shredded and cooked
- 2 cups winter squash, cooked and mashed (1 small)
- 2 cups zucchini, chopped and cooked (2 small)
- 1 cup baby lima beans or 1 cup fava beans, cooked
- 1 cup green peas, cooked
- 1 cup green beans, cooked
- 1⁄2 cup peanuts, ground
- 5 cups 2% low-fat milk
- 1 cup muenster cheese or 1 cup queso fresco or 1 cup queso blanco, shredded
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste if fish is included)
- 3 eggs, hardboiled and sliced
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- If using, soak cod fish in cold water to cover for 12 hours or more, changing water from time to time.
- Drain and put in saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until fish is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain fish, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut winter squash in half and place cut side down on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions replacing half the water with milk (boil on very low heat about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, cook beans and vegetables according to package directions. I used frozen corn, peas, lima beans and green beans combined in same casserole dish and microwaved for 8-9 minutes. The zucchini and cabbage I steamed together for 10 minutes. Combine.
- Meanwhile, cook eggs until hard boiled (about 4 minutes) and set aside. Let cool, remove shell and slice.
- When rice is done, add to bean mixture.
- When winter squash is done, set aside and let cool slightly before scraping out flesh with a fork and mashing a bit. Add to beans and rice mixture. If you are making this ahead of time, place in refrigerator until ready.
- Heat butter in large saucepan and saute the onions and garlic until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes, Add oregano, cumin, bay leaf and several grinds of black pepper and saute for a minute or two longer. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil and add the next 11 ingredients (rice through milk) and fish, if using.
- Stir to mix and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Add chopped cheese and salt to taste. The soup should be about as thick as a minestrone. If it seems too thick, thin it with a little more milk and simmer for a few minutes longer.
- Garnish soup with sliced hardboiled eggs and serve with parmesan cheese.
This is a sensational soup! I've made a similar version, which is our family recipe, but takes a lot longer to make, as it uses a lot more grains, which have to be individually peeled. This version tastes just as good. Soak salt cod at least 12 hours - I leave it for closer to 24. Change water at least 5 times to get saltiness out. It really makes the soup. This sounds complicated, but it really isn't. It is well worth the effort. Thanks for sharing this excellent recipe!