Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Best Bean Soup

Photo: FineArtAmerica
As temperatures fall, do you eat more soup? I certainly do ... and as mentioned, I don't buy canned soups anymore. Homemade soup tastes much better. It's chunkier and you know exactly what's in it. Plus, you can freeze leftovers in 16 ounce containers for quick lunches, or dinners. Simply pop a single serving into the microwave.

Recently I made the best bean soup ever! Although I used pintos, other beans will do. Mix it up each time you make a batch. Use navy, pink, pinto, or whatever bean you like. Also, the ingredients can change slightly, depending on what's in your refrigerator and cupboard. Sometimes I'll throw in carrots or ham, but this time it was vegetarian. If you don't have the Cajun seasoning (click below for recipe) I put in my soup, then season to taste with black pepper and the spices you like. 

Here is my tasty recipe:

Pinto Bean Soup

16 ounces dried beans
(Soak overnight in water according to the package.)
8 cups water
2 large (or 4 small bouillon cubes)
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried celery
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
a dash of soy sauce
a dash of nutmeg
a dash of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried mustard seeds
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
12 turns of the black pepper mill

optional: 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes; 2 cups ham, sausage or hot dogs, sliced. (Next time around for me. This time vegetarian.)

1. Throw all the above ingredients into a big pot. 
2. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat.
3. Cover with a lid and simmer for 2 - 3 hours. How easy, breezy!

I often make corn bread to eat with bean soup. However, last night I served my pinto bean soup with Virginia ham sandwiches on hearty whole grain bread and a mixed green salad.

Another quick pairing is Cheesy Garlic Toast: Lightly butter slices of whole grain bread. Sprinkle with dried garlic, onion powder and parsley, then top with a generous amount of shredded, sharp cheddar cheese. Place on a cookie sheet: Bake in the oven at 350 degree F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is crispy and the cheese melted. If you have a whole loaf of unsliced bread, you can slice it in two ... lengthwise to get 2 long halves. Put the toppings on each of the loaf halves. Bake it on a cookie sheet until the bread is golden brown and the cheese bubbles (about 20-30 minutes), then cut the loaf halves into single portions. Either way works. Serve with your delicious soup. 

Bon Appetit!

You may also enjoy:
Eaters Beware
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
Save Money At The Supermarket - 9 Tips 
Greenmarkets, Community Gardens And CSA's

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