Thursday, August 6, 2009

Two Recipes for Bean Soup

Beans are one of my favorite things. They are cheap, nutritious, and filling. Make them a staple, and you will save money.

Here are two recipes for bean soup--one simple, one fancy, both yummy.

Bean Soup, adapted from a recipe in the 1976 edition of the Crockery Cooker Cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens:

2 cups dry pinto beans
half an onion, chopped (or 1/4c dry chopped onion)
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken broth concentrate or 4 cubes bouillon
1 teaspoon salt (I sometimes leave this out)
pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
grated cheese, bacon pieces, and/or sour cream for toppings

Sort through beans to remove any pebbles or dirt. Rinse thoroughly and soak overnight. Drain beans and put them in the slow cooker with the onion, broth concentrate, salt, pepper, and marjoram. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients. Cover and cook on high 6-7 hours, or on low 12-14 hours. 20 minutes before you eat, mix the flour with the milk and add the mixture to the slow cooker, and continue to cook 15 minutes. Serve with topping.

Caribbean Black-Bean Soup, from the 2007 edition of Light and Healthy Recipes, by Good Houskeeping:

1 package (16 ounces) dry black beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium red onions, chopped
4 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced [if you carefully remove the seeds, these won't make the soup spicy hot]
2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 cups water
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges (optional)

1. Rinse beans with cold running water and discard any stones or shriveled beans. In large bowl, place beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. (Or, in 6-quart saucepot, place beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Heat to boiling over hight heat; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.) Drain and rinse beans.
2. In 6-quart saucepot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add jalapeno chiles, ginger, garlic, allspice, and thyme; cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
3. Add beans and water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and salt; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until beans and sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes longer.
4. Spoon 1 cup bean mixture into blender; cover, with center part of cover removed to let
steam escape, and puree until smooth. Return to saucepot. Stir in green onions and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, if you like.

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