On soup night my husband always says he feels like he’s being cheated out of a real dinner. I don’t know what to tell him; in my book there’s nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of homemade soup with biscuits on the side. It’s been pretty sunny and warmish in our neck of the woods, but I think we’ll still have a few cooler days around the corner, at least one or two for another good soup night.
The secret to a good biscuit is to keep the cold ingredients really cold, bring all the ingredients together as quickly as possible, and gently knead no more than 10-12 times. That combination will ensure the flakiest, softest biscuit on your side of the Mississippi.
A note on wheat flour. I purchase whole wheat berries and grind them to make my bread. I happened to run out of hard white wheat berries (which has a softer wheat flavor, and yields a softer, spongier bread), and only had hard red wheat berries (which has a “harder” wheat flavor, and yields a heavier, denser bread). I thought I’d try my hand at whole wheat biscuits instead of cutting them with half wheat flour/half all-purpose white flour. They were true to hard red wheat form, and had a really wheat-y flavor that worked well with the rustic soup. Feel free to cut half and half for a softer biscuit, if you’d like!
TUSCAN WHITE BEAN SOUP
Soups aren’t hard to pull together, and are a great busy-night-dinner-fixing. Soup can be served right away, but if you let it all simmer for at least an hour, you’ll draw out deeper layers of flavor.
- 2 cups mixed chopped carrots, celery, and yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups short pasta
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups mixed greens
- salt and pepper to taste
- Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with olive oil and heat to medium-high. Add the mixed chopped carrots, celery and yellow onion and salt and pepper to taste, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the diagonally-sliced carrot, sun-dried tomatoes, bay leaves, and vegetable stock and water. Let come to a boil and add the short pasta. Let cook for at least 8 minutes, turn the heat down to low and let simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Add more water as needed for the soup-y consistency you want, then add the beans and greens and stir just until the greens are wilted.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
WHOLE WHEAT BISCUITS
This recipe is from The Complete Guide to Country Cooking. While the recipe calls for 2 cups all-purpose flour, I used 2 cups whole wheat flour. Feel free to use half white, half wheat flour.
- 2 cups wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk. On a floured surface, knead 10-12 times. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet (I use a sheet of parchment paper). Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.