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Ethiopian Kidney Bean Soup

(Yeadengware shorba)

This soup is so simple and pure that it just seems right for a land as ancient as Ethiopia--reputedly founded by the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, ruled by the fabulous Prester John, and abandoned by Samuel Johnson's Rasselas, the Prince of Ethiopia. Serve hot to 4 as a first course or, with traditional injera bread torn into it, as a light meal.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups kidney beans, soaked in 4 cups of water overnight--OR 2 15-oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 small leek, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable or beef stock
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons pastina (small soup pasta--in a pinch you can break up soup noodles)

Put soaked kidney beans in a large saucepan with 6 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour or so, until they are done. If you are using canned kidney beans, you can skip the step of simmering the beans for an hour. Add the leek, carrots, stock, and salt and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and pastina, bring quickly to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 15 more minutes. Serve hot with injera, if you can find it--or with pita bread.