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Mushroom, Bean and Couscous Soup



Mushroom, Bean and Couscous Soup

The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

By Joe Yonan

This hearty soup gets its deep flavor from a combination of dried and fresh mushrooms, and heft from beans and pearl couscous. With the exception of the mushrooms and aromatic vegetables, it depends mostly on shelf-stable ingredients, making it particularly well-suited to snow days or any time you’re trying to clean out the pantry.

Make ahead: If you soak the beans (see Notes), that needs to happen 8 to 12 hours before making the soup. Cooked beans can be refrigerated, in their liquid, for up to 4 days before making the soup.


Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

From food and dining editor Joe Yonan.


measuring cup

Servings: 46 (8 cups)

  • 3/4 cup navy beans, cannellini or other white beans, soaked for 8 to 12 hours (see Notes) and drained
  • 6 cups low-sodium homemade vegetable broth or store-bought vegetable broth or water, divided, plus more as needed (see related recipe)
  • 2 medium yellow onions (1 pound total), chopped and divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon dried mushroom powder, such as porcini or shiitake
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed or dry sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup pearl couscous or fregola
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Time Icon
30 mins
Total: 45 mins
  1. Step 1

    In a multi-cooker such as an Instant Pot, combine the beans with 3 cups of the vegetable broth. Add half of the onions, half of the garlic, the bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Secure the appliance’s lid and make sure the steam valve is sealed. Select PRESSURE (HIGH) and set the cook time to 30 minutes. (It should take about 10 minutes for the appliance to come to pressure.)

  2. Step 2

    When the 30 minutes of cooking is up, release the pressure manually by moving the handle to “Venting.” To do this, cover your hand with a towel and make sure to keep your hand and face away from the vent when the steam releases. Open the appliance and check to see if the beans are tender. If not, return them to PRESSURE (HIGH) for 10 minutes at a time, manually releasing the pressure and steam each time, until they are tender.

  3. Step 3

    While the beans are cooking, in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the remaining onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the mushroom powder and thyme and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms collapse, exude their liquid, it mostly evaporates and they start to brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Add the couscous and the remaining 3 cups of the vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the soup is at a simmer, cover and cook until the couscous swells and is tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. Step 5

    When the beans are cooked, drain them, reserving their liquid. Add the beans, plus 2 cups of their cooking liquid, to the pot and return to a simmer. (If you don’t have 2 cups of the cooking liquid, add water for a total of 2 cups.) Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 2 minutes. Taste, and season with more salt as needed.

  6. Step 6

    Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper and serve hot.


Instead of white beans >> use chickpeas, pinto beans or cranberry beans.
Want to use canned beans? >> Rinse and drain 2 cups and use water instead of cooking liquid.
Fresh thyme >> 2 teaspoons dried thyme.
Pearl couscous >> ditalini or orzo or 2 cups pre-cooked farro or barley. If using a pre-cooked grain, add it with the beans instead of earlier.


To cook the beans on the stovetop, use 2 cups of the water or broth instead of 3 cups. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat, boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender, up to 1 hour or longer, depending on the age of the beans and whether or not you soak them.


If you don’t have time to soak your beans and/or you know they’re particularly fresh, you can skip soaking them and add 10 to 15 minutes to the cooking time. Feel free to use previously cooked beans, or cook a pound’s worth, and use 2 cups of the beans plus liquid for this soup and save the rest for another use. You can also make your own mushroom powder: Grind dried shiitake, porcini or any other dried mushroom in a dedicated spice grinder until fine.


Nutritional Facts

Per serving (1 1/3 cups), based on 6

  • Calories


  • Fat

    6 g

  • Saturated Fat

    1 g

  • Carbohydrates

    45 g

  • Sodium

    496 mg

  • Cholesterol

    0 mg

  • Protein

    13 g

  • Fiber

    9 g

  • Sugar

    4 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From food and dining editor Joe Yonan.

Tested by Joe Yonan.


Published February 11, 2024

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Cogent: Q4 Earnings Snapshot



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WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON — Cogent Communications Group Inc. (CCOI) on Thursday reported fourth-quarter profit of $200.2 million.

The Washington-based company said it had net income of $4.17 per share. Losses, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 16 cents per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 95 cents per share.

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Borer Brings Reading Tour to Washington School’s English Language Program



Borer Brings Reading Tour to Washington School’s English Language Program

Written by Michael P. Walsh

WEST HAVEN, CT — Mayor Dorinda Borer brought her reading tour to a temporarily relocated elementary school on Meloy Road to highlight the importance of literacy.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, Borer met with students at Washington Elementary School and read children’s books, including the 2004 Mo Willems book “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale,” to students of the school’s English Language Learners program for grades K-4.

The school is housed until further notice in the former Molloy Elementary School building at 255 Meloy Road while a new Washington school is constructed at 369 Washington Ave.


The ELL program is composed of 127 students, including 13 newcomers, and is led by ELL-certified teachers Pauline Moycik, Meghan Abate and Helen Soufrine.

According to Washington Principal Alicia M. Limosani, at least 18 different languages are spoken by the students and their families.

During the half-hour reading session, an energetic and engaging Borer received enthusiastic comments and responses from the classroom of students.

To show their gratitude for the mayor’s visit, students presented Borer with two bouquets of flowers and two large signs with “Thank You Mayor” printed in colored markers.

Borer said she plans to hang the paper signs in her office at City Hall before making more stops on her school reading tour during Read Across America Week.


The five-day event, promoted as “celebrating a nation of diverse readers,” kicks off March 2, the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss, and runs through March 6.

Read Across America, established in 1998, is an initiative of the Washington, D.C.-based National Education Association to encourage reading. The year-round program focuses on “motivating children to read through events, partnerships and reading resources that are about everyone, for everyone.”

West Haven Mayor Dorinda Borer on Tuesday, Feb. 27, reads the 2004 Mo Willems children’s book “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” to students of Washington Elementary School’s English Language Learners program for grades K-4. The West Haven school is temporarily housed in the former Molloy Elementary School building at 255 Meloy Road while a new Washington school is constructed at 369 Washington Ave. The ELL program is led by ELL-certified teachers Pauline Moycik, Meghan Abate and Helen Soufrine. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

West Haven Mayor Dorinda Borer is surprised with two bouquets of flowers given by students of Washington Elementary School’s English Language Learners program for grades K-4. Before receiving the bouquets, Borer read children’s books to the students, including the 2004 Mo Willems book “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.” (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


West Haven Mayor Dorinda Borer is all smiles with students and teachers of Washington Elementary School’s English Language Learners program for grades K-4. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

This press release was produced by the City of West Haven. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

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Supreme Court sets April arguments over whether Trump can be prosecuted for election interference



Supreme Court sets April arguments over whether Trump can be prosecuted for election interference

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to decide whether former President Donald Trump can be prosecuted on charges he interfered with the 2020 election and set a course for a quick resolution.

The justices’ order maintains a hold on preparations for a trial focused on Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss. The court will hear arguments in late April, with a decision likely no later than the end of June.

But even with a timetable that is much faster than usual, the court action calls into question whether a trial for Trump, assuming the justices deny his immunity bid, can be scheduled and concluded prior to the November election.

Trump’s lawyers have sought to put off a trial until after the voting.


By taking up the legally untested question now, the justices have created a scenario of uncertainty that special counsel Jack Smith had sought to avoid when he first asked the high court in December to immediately intervene. In his latest court filing, Smith had suggested arguments a full month earlier than the late April timeframe.

Spokespeople for Trump and Smith did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The court said in an unsigned statement that it will consider “whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”

The Supreme Court has previously held that presidents are immune from civil liability for official acts, and Trump’s lawyers have for months argued that that protection should be extended to criminal prosecution as well.

Lower courts have so far rejected Trump’s novel claim that former presidents enjoy absolute immunity for actions that fall within their official job duties. A panel of appellate judges in Washington ruled earlier in February that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who would preside over the election interference trial, was right to say that the case could proceed and that Trump can be prosecuted for actions undertaken while in the White House and in the run-up to Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.


The issue reached the high court because the appeals court refused to grant the delay that Trump has sought.

The case is separate from the high court’s consideration of Trump’s appeal to remain on the presidential ballot despite attempts to kick him off because of his efforts following his election loss in 2020. During arguments on Feb. 8, the court seemed likely to side with Trump. A decision could come any time.

The high court also will hear an appeal in April from one of the more than 1,200 people charged in the Capitol riot. The case could upend a charge prosecutors have brought against more than 300 people, including Trump.

The election interference case in Washington is one of four prosecutions Trump faces as he seeks to reclaim the White House. Of those, the only one with a trial date that seems poised to hold is his state case in New York, where he’s charged with falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments to a porn actor. That case is set for trial in March 25, and a judge this month signaled his determination to press ahead.

A separate case charging him with illegally hoarding classified records is set for trial on May 20, but a pivotal hearing Friday seems likely to result in a delay. No date has been set in a separate state case in Atlanta charging him with scheming to subvert that state’s 2020 election.


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