Showing posts with label bean soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bean soup. Show all posts

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Grandma Mary's Bean Soup #Recipe @PegCochran

I've been trying to work my way through some of the food stocked in the big freezer we have out in the garage.  When something I use frequently--like chicken--is on sale, I will stock up.  But the freezer is getting a little too full and since it seems the apocalypse has been delayed for the time being, I thought I'd better start using some of the frozen food.

 While I was poking around I discovered the ham bone I'd saved from Easter dinner (I also found the ham bone I'd saved from the *previous* Easter's dinner but that's a story for another time.)  I always loved my mother-in-law's bean soup which she made after Easter with the ham bone, and fortunately I had the recipe so here it is!


2 quarts boiling water
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns (I didn't count)
1 onion, peeled
3 whole cloves
1 lb. great Northern beans

I know there's an enormous divide among those who believe beans need to be soaked and those who don't.  I decided to be on the safe side and I soaked the beans overnight in cold water.

If there are any good bits of ham still clinging to the bone, or if you've saved some ham, cut it into bite-sized pieces and put it aside.

Put all of the above in a large soup pot, bring to a boil, skim the foam from the top and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  My beans must have been very fresh because they only took 2 hours to become soft and tender.

Optional step:  Since I had time before dinner, I put the soup in the refrigerator until the fat congealed on top making it super easy to remove.

Congealed fat--so easy to skim off!

More Ingredients:

carrots, sliced
parsnip, sliced
onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Leftover cubed ham
salt and pepper to taste

You will note there are no quantities for some of these ingredients.  The recipe called for 6 carorts, 3 parsnips and 3 onions.  That seemed excessive especially given the size of my carrots.  I put in 1 parsnip, 2 carrots and 1 onion.  It made for a full pot of soup and I didn't think it needed anymore.  Use your judgment.  If you LOVE carrots, you can add more.

Add the above along with the ham to the soup pot and cook another 30 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.  Mine took forever.  Note to self: make thinner slices next time.

Add a sprinkle of paprika (about a teaspoon or to taste), stir and serve.  If you want to go all retro, enjoy with buttered saltines.  If you want to be very grown-up, serve with good crusty bread.

For more good recipes, and a good mystery, pick up a copy of Berry the Hatchet, #2 in my Cranberry Cove series!

Coming in September -- an all new series!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pasta e Fagioli #recipe @LucyBurdette #lowsodium

LUCY BURDETTE: It's winter, even in Key West, which means that we've gone native and want to curl up and nap like these guys. With maybe some hot soup for supper.

I've just about given up on soup because of my low sodium diet – most soups turn out to rely quite a bit on salt to make the flavor pop. But when I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit for a pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) with a homemade broth that I thought I could tweak, I couldn't resist giving it a try.

I was worried about flavor though, so added two carrots and two sticks of celery to the mix. I also made the mistake of buying escarole instead of endive, but that worked out fine!

Ingredients for the stock

one and a half cups of dry white cannellini beans

2 quarts water
2 sticks celery with leaves
2 peeled carrots
2 bay leaves
1/2 head of garlic
1/2 tsp dried red pepper
handful of chopped parsley

  To cook the beans, you can either soak them covered in water overnight, or use the quick method, bringing them to a simmer for two minutes. Then cover the pot and let it sit for an hour. Next, drain and rinse the beans. Add all the above ingredients to the pot. Bring all this to the simmer and let it cook for an hour and a half.

Ingredients for the soup base

2-3 sticks of celery, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
14.5 ounce can of no-salt added diced tomatoes
3/4 cup white wine


Meanwhile in a second pot, sauté the chopped celery, carrots, onion, and two garlic cloves in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the vegetables are soft, add the tomatoes and simmer until most of the juice has evaporated. And 3/4 cup white wine and simmer again. 

When the big pot has finished simmering, drain the beans, discard the vegetables, and add the beans to the second pot, along with 4 cups of water or low sodium chicken stock. Simmer this all together, then add 6 oz of good pasta, broken into smallish pieces. Simmer until al dente, then add 1/2 head chopped escarole and simmer for several minutes until wilted.


Serve with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

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And don't forget (how could you?), KILLER TAKEOUT will be in bookstores of all kinds on April 5, but is available for pre-order today!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Welcome guest author Jenn McKinlay

     On New Year’s Day, the Hub and I were invited to a delightful open house at a musician friend’s abode.  Now this was in Tempe, AZ where the temperature should have been a blissful 68 degrees, you know, jeans and long sleeve shirt weather with no jacket required, but it was not.  No, instead it was a bone chilling 41 degrees and left all of us desert rats scrambling for real estate around the fire pit and strategically placed space heaters.
     Yes, I know that my family in New England would consider anything in the forties a glorious respite from the negative digits, but for us southwestern folk, it was bitterly, frigidly cold.  One of the party goers even wrapped herself up from head to toe in a thick wool blanket.  In conversations, we could see our breath puff out in white clouds when we spoke -- at mid-day, in central Arizona, it boggled!
     Still, the music and laughter and good times commenced, musicians are a hearty lot, and the large table sagged under the weight of all the food, which was plentiful and diverse, always a good thing.  Looking for something that would toast up my insides, I spotted a huge crock pot of pozole rojo made by one of the guys, a guitar player named Dave.  Don’t you love when men are good cooks? 
     Elbows were thrown, mostly between me and the Hub, as we zeroed in on the delicious, warm up your nether regions soup.  We both had a heaping bowl, and Hub circled back for seconds. I have to say as a cold weather curative, it worked like a charm. 
     Naturally, I then had to learn how to make it.  So to help you keep warm during this last gasp of winter, here’s the recipe I cobbled together from a couple of different sources.  Enjoy!  And remember, spring has to come eventually, right? 

Pozole Rojo

2 ounces dried chiles de arbol
6 cloves garlic (2 smashed, 4 finely chopped)
Kosher salt
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried oregano                                      1 bay leaf
3 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish options: Diced avocado, shredded cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and/or fresh cilantro

Break the stems off the chiles de arbol and shake out as many seeds as possible (do not rub your nose while touching the peppers – I did – and YOWZA!).  Tip: Wear food prep gloves if you have them. Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water, for about 30 minutes, until soft. Transfer the chiles and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add the smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pushing the sauce through with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.

Rub the pork all over with the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pot; add the pork to the other side and sear, turning, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

In a large crock pot, stir in the chicken broth, oregano, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the chile sauce (depending on your taste). Setting the crock pot on low, carefully add the pork, onions and garlic from the large pot, let the pork cook for about 4 hours.

Lastly, stir in the garbanzo beans and continue to cook for one more hour, until the pork is tender and starts falling apart. Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat then return it to the pot. Add some water or broth if the pozole is too thick. Season with salt to taste and serve with assorted garnishments.

Jenn is the NYT bestselling author of a several mysteries series and lives in sunny AZ in a house overrun with kids, pets, and her husband's guitars.

Find Jenn on her website or on Facebook.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Smoky Bean Soup

Thick and Hearty Soup
Oh, lowly bean.  How I love you!  So versatile, so tasty, so packed with protein and fiber.  I sprinkle you on salads, bundle you in tortillas, mash you into patties, simmer you in chilies.  And when I have the time, I turn you into warm, filling, comforting soup!

As much as I love beans, I've generally been a one- or two-bean-at-a-time kind of gal.  But I've always been intrigued by the bags of mixed beans I see in the grocery store.  As silly as it sounds, they always seemed like a ridiculous indulgence.  After all, you don't get the convenience of canned beans.  But they're way more expensive than, say, a simple bag of black beans.  I think it's the fancy seasoning packets that drive up the price, but since those seasoning packets are rarely (if ever) vegetarian, I'd have to pitch the part I'm paying for.

15 Beautiful Beans
 Finally, this week, I gave in to my curiosity and bought a bag of mixed beans.  A 15-bean blend, to be precise.  As I mentioned, I immediately pitched the packet of seasoning, but I still managed to get a ton of flavor out of this simple soup.  Served with cornbread--and eaten while cuddled on the couch with the awesome Todd Baryshnikov--it was a rich and rewarding meal.

Todd Baryshnikov
Some notes about the prepping and cooking of beans:

  • I always heard that you should avoid salting beans until they were done cooking.  According to the good folks at America's Test Kitchen, that's not good advice.  In fact, "brining" the beans (soaking them in mild salt water) actually softens their wee husks so they grow even more tender when you cook them.  I used 2 quarts of water for soaking and added about 4 tsp. of salt.
  • While it's o.k. to salt the water before the beans are done, you really can't add acid until they're as tender as you want them to be.  So hold off on the tomatoes, citrus, vinegar, and wine until they're cooked through.
  • If your mix has kidney beans (as mine did) you MUST boil the kidney beans for at least 10 minutes. Do not rely on cooking them in a slow cooker ... bring them to a hard boil and keep them that way for 10 minutes before reducing to a simmer.  Raw kidney beans contain high levels of a toxin that is eliminated by cooking. 
  • If your mix contains lentils and split peas, these are going to dissolve as you cook them (after soaking over night, they don't need nearly as much time to cook as the other beans).  That's okay!  they'll form a wonderful thick "broth" around the other, more intact beans.
  • One of the least pleasant aspects of cooking beans is the scummy foam they tend to produce.  This stuff is normal, and it really won't hurt anything ... but feel free to skim it off if it bugs you.  Again, it's normal, so don't think your beans are bad!
Smoky Bean Soup

1 - 20 oz. bag of 15-bean soup mix
4 tsp. salt
2 quarts water

2 quarts water
3 vegetable bullion cubes
1 1/2 tsp. cajun seasoning (I used Penzey's - you may need to adjust if using a different brand)
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes ("fire roasted" is great)
10 oz. potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
10 oz. carrots, cut into small rounds
1 c. onion
2 Tbs. canola oil

Mix the 4 tsp. salt and 2 quarts water in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Add beans, cover, and soak at room temperature for about 24 hours.

Dump the beans into a colander.  Drain well and rinse with cold water.  Remove any husks that have come off the beans.

Return the beans to the pot/Dutch oven.  Add 2 quarts of new water and 3 vegetable bullion cubes (enough to make 6 cups of bullion).  Bring the beans to a hard boil, boil for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the beans are all tender (only about 50 minutes more ... maybe an hour).  Meanwhile, prep the potatoes and carrots and cook the onion in the oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat (until translucent and just starting to turn golden).

When the beans are tender, add the tomatoes (with their juices), potatoes, carrots, onion, cajun seasoning, and liquid smoke.  You may need to add a cup or two of water, depending on how much liquid has evaporated.  Bring back to a strong simmer, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for about 15 - 20 minutes (until vegetables are tender).


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook. She also writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries under the name Annie Knox; you can follow Annie on Facebook, too!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mayflower Soup

by Sheila Connolly

Unless this weather starts playing tricks, spring will soon be upon us and we'll start thinking of lighter food.  I figured I'd better get this hearty soup/stew recipe posted before that happens.

Actually, I'm very proud that this dish was made solely of locally grown foods.  Nearby Plymouth has a lovely farmers' market (I think I've mentioned it here before), and in winter they hold it indoors at Plimoth Plantation, once a month.  Not surprisingly the fare emphasizes root vegetables, breads, and condiments, with the exception of pea greens, which are delightful.

Fresh pea greens

I've become buddies with one vendor who lives near me (we've commiserated about how to prune an Esopus Spitzenburg apple tree, which tends to produce long leggy branches—neither of us has had the nerve to prune ours aggressively yet).  This time she had some Mayflower beans, and I grabbed up the last pound.

Mayflower beans (dry)

Mayflower beans are said to have arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, and were sustained in the Carolinas.  They're a pole bean, with a white interior and a mottled red skin.  My farmer friend complained mightily about having to clean them for sale—she probably won't offer them again because it's tedious work.  They also require long soaking, unlike the beans we buy in plastic bags these days.  I gave mine 24 hours to soak, and they probably could have gone longer.

Mayflower beans after soaking

The basic recipe is simple:

1 lb. Mayflower beans, well soaked    at least overnight
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1-2 carrots, chopped (I used one huge one)
1 parsnip, chopped
Thyme, bay leaf, or whatever herbs you like
1 lb. potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
4 cups stock (if you want a vegetarian dish, use water or vegetable stock, otherwise beef or chicken stock)
Salt and pepper
Oil for sautéing

Heat in the oil in a large, deep kettle and gently cook the onion and garlic until limp but not brown.  Add the beans, carrots and parsnip, thyme and stock.

Simmer over low heat (do not boil!) until the beans are cooked (keep tasting them). This may take up to two hours. Do not add salt during the cooking, because it will toughen the beans.

When the beans are fairly soft, add the potato chunks and continue to simmer until the potatoes are cooked, maybe another half an hour.  When you reach the magic moment, the stock will thicken and become a rich reddish-brown.  Check for seasoning, then serve. A nice whole-grain bread would go nicely with it.

I confess I also threw in some kale—yes, local!—at the last minute, because it creates a nice color contrast.

And voila!  A thick and hearty soup that the original settlers would recognize.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hearty Crockpot Bean Soup

Would you believe those big chunks are not potatoes?

The other day I read a blog complaining about the mushiness of canned beans. It's been a while since I bothered to cook anything with dried beans, so I thought I'd give it a shot. There's no question that dried beans cost a lot less than canned beans, and after eating this, you can bet my next batch of chili will be made with dried beans. I think they are better!

I used a variety of beans in this recipe, plus veggies, and apples. My grocery store had Texas style ribs (dark pork meat with no bones) on sale that I thought would hold up well to slow cooking. It's hot and hearty and oh-so-easy, not to mention fairly healthy! I felt spoiled and lazy since it all happened in the crock pot without much effort. Don't be fooled though, at the low setting, the beans really do take eight hours to cook

Hearty Crockpot Bean Soup

1/2 cup dried Northern beans
1/2 cup dried kidney beans

1/3 cup dried baby lima beans
2 1/2 to 3 pounds pork
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered or diced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 14.5 ounce cans chicken broth (use tomato can to measure)
2 14.5 ounce cans water
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2-3 cloves garlic

2 large leaves red Swiss chard chopped, including stems
1 10-ounce package peas

Wash the Northern beans and the kidney beans. Pick out any that look odd and remove all floaters. Put them in the crock pot (turned OFF) with six cups water to soak overnight.

In the morning, dump the water in the beans, rinse them and set aside. Place the meat in the bottom of the crock pot, and add the beans on top of the meat. Add everything else, except the Swiss chard and peas. Cook on low for seven hours and fifteen minutes.

Add the Swiss chard and frozen peas and cook another 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy!