This recipe was inspired by my sister-in-law, Sharon. She made a fantastic potato leek soup a few years ago and I was lucky enough to enjoy a bowl. As a Chinese, this was an unusual dish for me. In Chinese cuisine, the most common potato dish is spicy and sour shredded potato. Potatoes in soup or stew dishes are normally cut into cubes and cooked with other vegetables and hot spices until soft and tender. I never knew potatoes and leeks could be a good combination. The soup is surprisingly creamy and fragrant.
Unfortunately, my local grocery store was out of leeks the day I was shopping, so I bought some fresh spring onions instead. Don’t raise your eyebrow yet. I know they are totally a different plant. Leeks seem to taste milder and sweeter than spring onions. But I thought I would experiment with spring onion this time and develop a new recipe.
I always like to make a complete meal with protein, dietary fibers, and carbohydrates all in one pot. Based on this idea, I have created many dishes, such as lentil butternut squash soup, Swiss chard lentil quinoa hamburger, et al. This navy bean potato onion soup is not an exception. It’s super simple and fool-proof. The addition of navy beans blends well with the sharp taste from the spring onions. But, the spring onion is still strong enough to taste. That was a good decision to use spring onion instead of leek because the leek flavor might be too mild to intensify the flavor of the whole soup. Some tips listed below will make you an expert at making this soup, even if you have just a little experience in cooking.
Tip 1. Soak the beans for at least 6 hours in cold water and rinse well after the soaking step. Soaking really helps to reduce the amount of cooking time.
Tip 2. Raw and undercooked beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin. Boiling the soaked beans in water for at least 10 minutes and then turning it down to simmer will reduce the toxin to a very low safe level. If you are going to use slow cooker at low setting, just make sure to boil the beans before they are cooked in the slow cooker.
Tip 3. Use an electric hand blender. After every thing is cooked in the pot, I used a hand blender to blend the soup until it is creamy. (see kitchen tools page for the blender I have.)
I like to sprinkle some chopped parsley leaves and imitation bacon bits to make this soup elegant in both looks and taste. The bacon flavor makes the soup more interesting with a hint of smoky flavor.
- 8 oz navy beans, raw
- 13 ½ cups water
- 1 tbs canola oil
- 6 oz spring onion, chopped
- 16 oz russet potatoes, cubed
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs finely chopped parsley leaves
- (optional) 1 tsp imitation bacon bits (or real bacon bits for non-vegan choice)
- Soak navy beans in 8 cups of water for at least 6 hours at room temperature. Use a strainer to drain and collect all beans. Rinse the beans under fresh water before cooking.
- Transfer the beans into a 4 qt saucepan, add 5 ½ cups of water and boil over high heat with cover on. Foam will be formed during the boiling time; carefully watch the pot to avoid any spilling from boiling. After boiling for 10 minutes, turn the heat to low and let the beans simmer for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over high heat until it is hot. Add oil and wait for 15 seconds. Add spring onions into the sauté pan and stir continuously until the spring onion is fragrant.
- Mix potatoes, sautéed spring onion, salt, and black pepper into the beans. Turn the heat to medium until it is boiling. Simmer for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
- Remove the sauce from the heat. Use an electric hand blender to blend the soup until it is smooth.
- Garnish with parsley leaves and imitation bacon bits. Serve hot.