Friday, January 7, 2011

Basic Bean Soup

Another soup...I kinda like them. Why? I can put the excess in the fridge for lunches for the week...or in the freezer for later. I like bulk cooking .... with glitter on it like it. It makes my life easier and I spend less time standing over a hot stove.

Basic Bean Soup1.5 cups dry mixed beans (I prefer at least 6 different beans and some barley)
32 oz broth (vegetable or chicken/turkey)
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
5 cups water

Soak the beans/barley mix in three cups of cold water overnight, up to 24 hours. Stirring occasionally. Rinse and drain.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Set heat to low and simmer till beans reach desired tenderness. Check frequently to be sure there is enough broth. If the level is low, add water or more broth. Season to taste with Italian seasoning and salt/pepper.

Serves 8-10.

I usually have leftover chicken meat in the fridge. So I shred up some of it and add it to the soup on leftover days.

It's tasty, full of nutrients, and cheap. LOVE IT!

The Weekly Bean

Do you like beans? Even a little? Well, if you don't - you should.
Here's why: Click here

I've never been a fan of pinto beans until I tried my friends pinto bacon chilli. Wow...someday I'll track her down and steal the recipe for you.

But beans are AWESOME and they are a staple here in our home. So the question comes up...canned or fresh.

Pros for canned: convenient...saucy...pretty...quick
Cons for canned: more expensive...aluminum can = more waste...BPA

BPA you say? What is that? Read Here

Pros for fresh: no bpa...bigger beans...you know it's a clean food...super cheap
Cons for fresh: takes preparation and time...not as pretty

So here are the basics - there are two steps to preparing beans - soaking and cooking.

Beans can be purchased at the grocery store in baggies near the rice...or at your local health food market in bulk. Whichever way you buy them, sift through them a little before soaking just to make sure there are not rocks or debris in the mix.

1. Beans need to soak. I soak mine overnight and sometimes up to 24 hours. 1 to 3 ratio of beans and water. Just leave it in a bowl on the counter, stir occasionally.

2. Pour out the soak water and rinse them off. Fill a large enough pot with about four times as much water and bring the beans and water to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for as long as it takes to get the beans soft enough.

Black beans take a long time to soften...at least two hours.

The white bubbles that appear on the top is actually protein and it will soak back into the beans, so don't scoop it off and dispose of it.

I prepare 1 cup of dry black, kidney, and garbanzos almost weekly. And just keep them in the fridge for up to 6 days. I add them to mexican bowls, soups, salads, quesadillas, etc. And little E loves loves loves kidney beans straight out of the bowl.

Because I use them for a variety of things during the week, I don't season my beans during cooking...but rather right before eating...usually just salt.

It's a bean good time I tell ya!