The name of this soup is after a river just west of Chicago. I named it after that river because the original recipe I modified from the February/March 2006 issue of Eating Well was called "Amazon Bean Soup with Winter Squash and Greens".
I live in Chicago and modified this recipe enough to have a claim to it. However, a "Chicago River" soup would have to be primarily green, and "Cal/Sag Channel" soup is not an appetizing thought. It probably would need some fish floating belly up with chunks of mobster. Ugh. So the Fox River it is.
I can't tell you how the original tastes, but I can encourage you to go buy the latest issue of Eating Well, an excellent publication. Their soup is based on a Brazillian squash soup. They suggested buttercup squash, we use butternut squash, an ENTIRELY different beast. They want pinto beans, we had garbanzos available. They add fewer spices and no wine, and I add both in good quantity.
I do intend to try the original recipe as published in Eating Well, but first, I'll polish off the pot of Fox River Bean Soup we enjoyed with chunks of beer bread this evening.
P.S. - this is the first photo we've put up taken with a new camera. What do you think?
Fox River Bean Soup with Winter Squash and Greens
based on Amazon Bean Soup with Winter Squash and Greens, Eating Well magazine, Feb/March 2006 p.48-49, I believe by Victoria Abbot Ricardi
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves minced garlic
2 chopped carrots
1 diced medium onion
6 cups vegetable broth
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 chopped plum tomato
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
a couple of good grinds of fresh black pepper
2 15 ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed
10 oz. fresh spinach, washed, stemmed, and chopped large
1 lime or lemon, cut into wedges.
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Melt butter in a Dutch oven. Sautee the garlic, carrots, and onion until tender and just taking on color. Add the wine and scrape any fond, or browned bits into the wine. Add the broth, and stir well.
Add the squash, tomato, and spices and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until squash is falling apart.
Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, blend half the soup smooth. Return to pot and stir well to mix in with unblended soup.
Stir in the beans and spinach until the beans are warmed through and the spinach is wilted.
Serve with citrus wedge for each bowl and a hunk of good bread.