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Maine White Bean & Turkey Leg Soup

Homestead Harvest

Maine White Bean & Turkey Leg Soup

Maine, with its unparalleled natural beauty and rugged landscapes, has long been a haven for those seeking connection to the land. From the coastal waves crashing against its rocky shores to the endless woodlands that change hues with each season, it is a place of retreat and revitalization. Just as the landscapes provide sustenance to the soul, Maine’s culinary traditions offer a heartwarming embrace that celebrates its rich history, fertile soils, and close-knit communities. Among these cherished dishes stands the Homestead Harvest’s White Bean & Turkey Leg Soup, a bowlful of Maine’s heritage and seasonal bounty.

Starting with the choice of beans, the cannellini beans in the recipe are reminiscent of the beans grown in the heartland of Maine. These beans, often seen drying in the late summer sun on the porches of old farmhouses, have been a staple in Maine kitchens for generations. Their creamy texture, when simmered slowly, is evocative of the comforting embrace of a blanket on a chilly Maine evening.

Turkey legs, the star protein of this soup, speak to Maine’s proud hunting traditions. The forests here are not just a habitat for wildlife but also a haven for hunters who tread softly on the forest floor, respecting the ecosystem while seeking sustenance. The inclusion of turkey is a nod to both the wild and the domestic, as Maine’s farms too proudly raise this bird, ensuring that it’s ethically reared and free to roam the vast pastures.

Sunflower oil, used to sauté the aromatic base of onion and garlic, is more than just a cooking medium. Sunflowers, with their radiant yellow petals, are a symbol of the sun that graces Maine’s summers. Every drop of this oil carries with it the sunshine and the hopes of a good harvest.

The dried thyme and ground coriander are more than mere seasonings. They are echoes of Maine’s herb gardens, carefully tended, and dried for winter months. In many Maine homesteads, jars filled with dried herbs line kitchen shelves, a testament to the state’s commitment to preserving the flavors of summer as the days grow shorter and colder.

The act of making this soup is almost therapeutic, much like the slow life embraced by Maine’s denizens. It’s not about rushing; it’s about savoring—savoring each ingredient, each moment, and each memory that ties Maine’s residents to this beautiful state.

Each bowlful is a harmonious blend of the state’s rich farming tradition, the wild spirit of its woodlands, and the tight-knit community that values togetherness and simplicity. It’s more than just sustenance; it’s a story, a memory, and a promise of the warmth that comes from a life lived close to the earth.

Maine White Bean & Turkey Leg Soup

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans soaked overnight
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 ounces turkey legs
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • After soaking the beans overnight, drain and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.
  • In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, combine the beans, water, bay leaves, and turkey legs. Set over medium heat, and bring to a boil.
  • Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 1 1/2 hours.
  • Remove the turkey legs from the pot, then shred the meat, discarding any unwanted fat or bones. Return the shredded meat to the soup.
  • In a separate skillet, warm the sunflower oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic, sautéing until they’re translucent – about 5 minutes.
  • Incorporate this onion and garlic mixture into the soup pot, followed by thyme and coriander. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Allow the soup to simmer for an additional 15 minutes, letting the flavors meld beautifully.

As the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, let this soup offer not just warmth but also a moment of reflection on the beauty of Maine’s seasons, its traditions, and the unbreakable bond between the land and its people. Sometimes, a simple soup can be a gentle reminder of the timeless joys and comforts found in the rhythms of nature and community.

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