Chilly weather makes soup inviting. In the never-ending quest to find something good to eat, I picked up a package of Hurst’s Hambeens Brand 15 Bean Soup. Twenty ounces of the most colorful collection of dried beans you’ve ever seen.
The bean soup recipe from the package –
one pound of ham or sausage
1 cup onion, diced
1 15 oz. can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
juice of one lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Soak the beans in 2 qt. water in a large pot overnight. Drain liquid and rinse beans twice. Put on high heat, stirring occasionally until boiling. The directions say to simmer, uncovered for 2 and a half hours, but that wasn’t long enough. It took several hours and some more cooking the next day to get the larger beans soft enough that they didn’t crunch a little. The package states –
Depending on water hardness, cooking time may need to be increased.
Well, I guess we have some really hard water! Anyway, the bean soup turned out great, even if it did take hours to make.
I added a small amount of chopped ham, about half a pound, a can of stewed tomatoes, a cup of diced red onion, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 T lemon concentrate, 2 cloves garlic, and 3 crushed, dried chili peppers seeds and all to the pot before the beans were thoroughly cooked. The added ingredients were cooked so long I thought the soup would have no flavor, but I was wrong. I didn’t add the “flavor packet” that comes with the beans. Only a sprinkle of salt was needed at the table, none was added in cooking apart from that added by the ham.
The next time I think I would cook the beans harder during the initial hour or two of “simmering” time, but realize that using beans of different sizes means that some will take longer to cook.
To dress it up a bit, I went to the garden and snipped a couple of chives leaves for each serving and cut them into small pieces. Added a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled the whole bowl of bean soup with fresh-cut chives. Enjoy!