Eleven Bean Soup

March 25, 2009  •  One Dish Meals, Soup

OK, I know I’ve been ranting a bit about spring fever, and surely the forecast for all this snow tonight is punishment of some sort for my jumping the gun. So just to get karma back on my side, today’s post is a hearty winter soup made with a whole slew of healthy ingredients – and it’s delicious to boot! My inspiration was this bagged mix of dried beans and lentils that I found the in pantry, but you can use any combination you like – just measure out about 2 cups of whatever dried beans you want.

The combination is pretty, don’t you think? Rinse them well under cold water, then dump them into a large stockpot with 12 cups of water…

…a bouquet garni (this was inside my bagged beans, but you can just tie up some dried or fresh thyme, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns in a small piece of cheesecloth to create your own)…
…and, if you have it, a ham hock or turkey leg for flavor. I had this prosciutto hock in the freezer that I’ve been wondering what to do with for months – the right man for the job!

Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let the beans cook for 3 hours. I did this the day before, then went on with the recipe the next evening for dinner, but you can certainly do it all in one day. After three hours fish out the bouquet garni and the hock or leg and throw them away. Then add the vegetables – a small can of diced tomatoes…
…one green pepper, diced…
…two stalks of celery, diced…
…two links of cooked chorizo or andouille sausage (about 2-4 ounces), diced…
…about 8 ounces of sliced, cooked chicken…
…and one large onion, diced…

Stir everything together, add salt and pepper, just barely bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, covered, for another hour or two. This soup is a meal in a bowl and is fabulous served with a nice crusty piece of garlic bread. Enjoy the snow day tomorrow!

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