Comfort Food · Easy · Food · Main Course · Recipe · Soups · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Adzuki, I’m so glad I ate you.

I’m sure you’ve all been in this situation.  You go to the market.  You see something new and exciting you’ve never eaten.  You buy it, sure that you’ll go home and promptly find exactly what to do with it.  And then you do go home, throw it onto your bean shelf in the bedroom (you all don’t have those? …Weird) and then promptly forget about it.

But thank goodness for the internet, specifically the group of uber-talented, delicious people who write food blogs. Like constant motivation, the food blog world weekly slaps me about the head and reminds me to get in the kitchen.  And it daily (hourly!) lends me ideas.  Heidi from 101 Cookbooks recently posted an adzuki bean and butternut squash soup and I remembered I had unused adzuki beans on my bean shelf in the bedroom (yes, I’m totally crazy and have no design skills.)  I’d imagined they would go in a soup when I bought them but of course forgot everything by the time I got home.  But now here was the perfect soup, on my screen.

It’s got lots of butternut squash and just enough chipotle to make you sweat.  Onions and tomatoes and 6 cloves of garlic.  And ground cinnamon, of which you’d hardly know it was there, but would miss it if left out.  I added some kale because I had some.  A little cumin because I love some.  [And meatballs because we’d been at the butcher and who doesn’t leave their favorite butcher without some ground meat?  Sadly, though, the soup was made and photographed the day before, sans meatballs, and I was too hungry the next day to stop and do anything other than eat my meal as soon as it was done.  Another time, maybe. And you don’t need the meatballs, anyway, I loved it just the same without.]

It was spicy and a little sweet and wholesome and comforting and whoo-damn it was good.  Jim deemed it the best soup we’ve ever made, and I was hard-pressed to disagree.  Adzuki, I’m so glad I (finally) ate you.

Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

serves 6-8, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 generous teaspoons finely chopped chipotle pepper (from can, or rehydrated from dried chile)
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 2 medium-large onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 – 6 cups water
  • 5 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 4 cups cooked or canned adzuki beans
  • chopped cilantro for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, chipotle and salt and saute for a minute or two – until aromatic. Add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until they are soft and beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and butternut squash and cook for another 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the squash begins to soften, 15-20 minutes or so.

Once the squash has softened, break up some pieces with the back of your spoon (it should be soft enough for you to do this relatively easily). Add the tomatoes, and cook a couple more minutes before adding the kale and beans. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the cilantro.
Heidi’s recipe was adapted from Jae Steele’s Get It Ripe: A Fresh Take on Vegan Cooking and Living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)

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23 thoughts on “Adzuki, I’m so glad I ate you.

  1. I am making a similar soup tonight using pinto beans. Well..i guess it will be more stew-like. I have been awakened to new bean types as well. Adzuki, Mung, different types of lentils. They are so fun to experiment with!

    1. They taste a lot like a red kidney bean. Creamy texture. What I like about them here is that they are very small, and don’t bully themselves into being the star of the dish. I love the soup so much because nothing really stands out by itself, everything is melded together without losing the specific tastes, but adding a new complex background to the whole thing. I’m not sure that made sense.

  2. I bookmarked Heidi’s recipe to try out sometime too. Your pictures make it look really delicious!

    Adzuki beans are great – I love their sweetness. I bet uisng dried adzuki made the soup taste even better (rather than canned). Sadly I’m rarely organised enough to soak the right beans the day before.

    1. Since adzuki beans are so little, I really don’t think you need to soak them (please, no bean police!!) Just leave yourself an extra hour or two to boil them into tenderness before making the soup. (And the soup is relatively quick.)

  3. Beans in the bedroom, had to read that twice – that made me smile and make me like you even more.

    Soup looks great, I am officially inspired.

  4. OK – this looks fantastic. So nice to see a squash soup that doesn’t look really rich, creamy and heavy. Love the flavors going on here – and heck, it looks quick to cook!

    1. Yep, they are. Red bean paste. (I actually didn’t know that until tonight by coincidence. They mentioned it in this month’s Saveur.)

  5. Great blog!

    I was just wondering what to do with the aduki beans in my cupboard. In Hong Kong you can buy red bean (aduki) and green bean (mung bean) ice lollies, they’re whizzed up and mixed with sugar and coconut milk. They’re delicious!

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