Thursday, January 21, 2010

Savoring--Comfort Food--Rich Bean Soup Recipe

We love homemade soup anytime of the year, but it smells especially comforting and inviting in cold weather. This recipe is adapted from one on a package of mixed, dried beans we used to buy in Southern California--I don't remember the brand name. The 20 ounce bag of dried beans claimed to have 15 kinds of beans in it.
The brand I buy currently has 12 kinds of beans and makes just as delicious a soup. The last time I shopped for them, however, our store was out. Since I couldn't wait to make soup from the ham bone and meat left over from cooking brunch for 25 people the morning after our son's wedding, I settled for two 16 ounce bags of dried beans--pinto and black beans. Adjusting the recipe to more or less account for the extra beans, I made the soup you see in the photo. It definitely warmed that chilly winter evening here in North Florida--with plenty left over for another night later in the week and some to freeze for another time.
There are alternatives to soaking the beans overnight--see instructions for microwave "soaking" on the package. Or you could use a slow cooker. I like to plan ahead and rinse the beans and cover them with soaking water the night before. If the dried beans come with a so-called flavoring packet, I suggest throwing it away--who needs extra salt, MSG, and all sorts of other chemicals? The recipe makes at least 12 servings, depending on your bowl size. Hope this warms you soon.
Rich Mixed Bean Soup
20 oz. mixed dried beans (not canned)
meaty ham bone or kielbasa sausage
4 - 5 stalks celery, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 lb. carrots, in bite-sized chunks
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can tomatoes in puree
1 - 2 tsp. chili powder
juice of one lime (or equivalent from bottled lemon or lime juice)
Rinse beans and soak overnight in about 4 quarts cold water in a large soup pot (an 8 quart pot is good). Drain beans and add about 4 quarts fresh water plus the ham bone or sausage. Simmer 2 1/2 - 3 hours, stirring up from the bottom occasionally.
Add rest of ingredients and simmer about 45 minutes, stirring off and on so it doesn't stick to the pot. (You can add more water for a thinner soup if desired). Add a dash of pepper to taste (it will not need salt because of the ham bone).
Lift out ham bone or sausage, chop meat and return to pot. Enjoy!
Question of the day: What is your favorite meal in cold weather?


  1. Perfect timing. It's freezing cold here and your bean soup will hit the spot!

    Nice perspective study. You caught the deep power of space beautifully. Also, so nice to see that huge body of water. I miss it.

  2. That looks just yummy! I'm curious about the taste with the lime juice added...One of these days when it is back to just Michael and I around here (my daughter and granddaughters live with us for now), I will have to give this a whirl! Thanks Mary!

  3. Looks like a fantastic dish after a cold day on the ice after ice fishing. We love to make extra for the two of us and have leftovers. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Thank you all for your comments--you won't be disappointed if you try this soup.

    Thank you for your encouraging comments on the painting from last time, Susan--I so appreciate feedback from other artists. I hope you get a chance to visit a huge body of water very soon.

    Autumn, you might be surprised if you let the children try this soup--ours liked it as young boys and a couple of their friends just loved it. You don't really taste the lime juice in such a large pot; it just tempers the spices nicely and sort of softens the taste of the beans.

    We are with you two, Bill, in loving to have leftovers. I still often cook in quantity, and it makes another meal or two super-easy. Plus, some of the best and most nutritious foods (like stews and soups) just aren't practical to make any other way.

  5. Oh boy that looks good. To me soup is the ultimate comfort food. And to top it all it's good for you

  6. I agree with you on all counts, TB. We just love soup and have collected a number of yummy, healthy soup recipes.