Puree soups of dried legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are found in ethnic cuisines around the globe; for example Indian curried lentil, Middle Eastern chickpea soup, or Tuscan bean soup. Smoked meats, bacon, or pancetta pair well with legumes. Fresh or dried chilies can be added to liven up the starchy taste of the legumes.
Additional flavorings include garlic, or ginger. Use any type of liquid desired including poultry, pork, or vegetable stock. Beer as a supplemental liquid adds earthy flavors. Tomatoes are often a part of the recipe, but because they are high in acids that prevent the legumes from softening, should be added later in the cooking process. A standard sachet d’epice is a good starting point for seasoning but can be enhanced with heartier herbs including rosemary and sage. Other seasonings may include cayenne, coriander, and cumin in a Mexican black bean, or garam masala in an Indian red lentil soup. Salt prevents legumes from softening and extends cooking time and should be added once they become tender. Acidity (vinegar, lemon, tomato) is often added at the end of the cooking process to lighten the starchy taste of the vegetables.
Although beans can be presoaked to shorten their cooking time, soaking results in loss of flavor because the soaking liquid is discarded along with flavor from the beans. We recommend skipping the soaking process since it only adds about 20-30 minutes to the cooking process.