You know how sometimes you try a new recipe, even though you aren't sure how good all the ingredients will be together? I'm not talking about if a recipe calls for beets, hazelnuts, and goat cheese, 'cause you know that will be good. No, I'm talking about when you can't really taste how it's going to turn out, but you make it anyway.
Well I was pleasantly surprised -- no, downright shocked -- at how well the ingredients in this soup and salsa recipe came together. The beans, the hint of pepper, the basil, the creamy feta, the texture of the orzo, the lemon -- oh the lemon adds a very special something, so make sure to use a fresh lemon and not the bottled stuff -- I will definitely be making this again.
white bean soup with salsa
(modified from this Real Simple recipe)
1/2 C orzo
1/2 red onion, diced
1 ripe & tasty tomato, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
5-8 leaves fresh basil, julienned
1/8 - 1/4 C feta cheese, crumbled
red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teas dried red pepper flakes
1 15-ounce can white (navy) beans, rinsed
2 C low sodium chicken broth
juice of 1 lemon (a few tablespoons)
In a small bowl, combine tomato, red pepper, basil, feta, a dash of vinegar, and a dash of olive oil. Toss to coat well and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute red onion for a couple minutes, then add garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is quite soft. Add beans, 1 3/4 C of the broth, and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute before ladling hot soup into a blender or food processor. Pulse until a chunky puree.
Return to pot and add last 1/2 C broth. Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Finally, stir in orzo and season with pepper, and salt if necessary. Ladle into serving bowls and divide salsa among the bowls, spooning it on the top.