Monday, December 10, 2012

Assorted Bean Soup

We were down at the cabin this weekend working on getting the inside finished and the dock extended (both sure to be winter and spring long projects). I forgot my camera and it was the worst time for that to happen. I was able to use my cell phone camera, which isn't the greatest to document my soup cooking. What I missed shooting was the pelicans going nuts over the three fishing boats blasting through the middle of the channel. I wish I could share the sight of hundreds of huge white pelicans as they flew towards our dock. Oh what a vision! I imagined myself taking photo after close-up photo. Maybe next time!

Andy and I were shopping a few weeks ago and we picked up a bag of SOUP MIX BEANS. I've fixed them before and they're really good. As long as you ignore their suggested cooking time that is. Anyone who has fixed dried beans knows even when soaked, there's no way in the world they will be tender in 30 minutes. I can only imagine how many people have run from them after a disappointing meal.

Personally, slow cooking them in the crock pot all day long is our favorite way to fix them, but I did them the old fashioned way. Plus, I didn't feel like hauling my crockpot to the river.

This mixture said the bag would contain at least 14 of the following 18 beans: Great Northern, Pinto, Barley, Small Reds, Pink Beans, Black Beans, Lite Red Kidneys, Large Limas, Baby Limas, Blackeyes, Small Whites, Garbanzos, Navy (Pea), Green Splits, Whole Green, Yellow Splits, Whole Yellow, and Lentils.

The first step is the most important. SORT THROUGH THE BEANS and wash them! Look for odd beans that need tossing and stones! I can't tell you how many times I've pulled a smooth pebble the shape of a bean when sorting.

In a large pot filled with the sorted beans, add: 3 quarts of water, 1 chopped onion, 1 ham hock (or left-over ham bone), 6 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. chili powder 1 cup of chopped celery (I used 1 tsp. celery seed).

Bring this to a full boil for two minutes. Cover and let the beans soak for two hours.

The texture of the beans will change, but they'll still be hard. Remove the bone and pull the meat. Return the meat to the pot and bring the pot up to a slow boil and leave uncovered. (If your beans soak up an extraordinary amount of water, add hot water as needed)
 Add one can of chopped tomatoes and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Let cook at a slow boil for 2-3 hours or until the beans reach a texture that suits you.
This pot cooked for 2-1/2 hours total and it was still a little soupy (Notice the "rings" on the side to get an idea of how much liquid cooked down). I fixed up some hoe cakes to eat with the soup. We didn't have any milk so I substituted with beer. They were incredibly light and delicious! Andy ate 3 bowls of this soup Saturday and another 3 bowls Sunday and said, Man, That Stuff is Good so many times I lost count. :-)

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