Love, love, love bean soup! It is filling and nutritious as beans are high in fiber and protein. This bean soup has a heartiness you know just has to come from a chunk of ham or something similiar tucked inside the soup. No it doesn’t! As a result it is very low in fat. In the soup pot while cooking I put part (about 1 1/2 inches long) of one roasted/smoked jalepeno pepper called a chipolte. Chipoltes come in a a small can in the area where international foods are sold at your grocery store. Chipoltes usually come in a thick, dark red sauce. These can be hot so I cut one in half and rinse off all the sauce from the can that clings to the pepper. The result is an almost instant slight color change and an added flavor depth. Remove the pepper before serving or cut in it teeny tiny pieces. The little bit of pepper will add just the small hint of spice that rounds out the soup. Now don’t be thinking you don’t like spicy food so you will just skip this. It’s not the same. Be brave, try it. ’Hot’ will never even enter you mind when you eat your first bowl. You will be too busy looking for the meat that isn’t there. I have a dear friend, Susan, whose spice of choice is butter, and she will not think this is spicey. Really. A cup of dark beer finishes the flavor. It’s soooo good. Yes it takes some time to prepare but as I usually say good cooking is worth the time it sometimes takes. This soup is great served with slabs of cornbread. Double good. Typical of most soups Heaarty Bean Soup tastes even better the next day, and freezes well for a lovely surprise when you decide to clean out your freezer, or sooner if you are more organized than me! Enough chit-chat! Let’s make soup!
2 1/2 cups dry organic (if possible) pinto beans
4 cups water
4 cups low or no-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup dark beer (Sam Adams Boston Lager is my choice.) Hmm, what will I do with the beer that is left in the bottle?
3 medium carrots, scrubbed, not peeled, and sliced
1 very large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup diced celery, the greener the better
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium red potatoes, large diced
1 cup shredded raw cabbage sauted in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent
1 piece of chipolte pepper, about 1 1/2 inches long, washed and set on paper towel
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teapoon ground tumeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground sage
3 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 whole, large bay leaves (Always keep them intact so you can find them later. They need to come out of your soup prior to serving. Yes, they really do.)
2 dashes liquid smoke (This equals 2 drops.)
Wash beans, pick out any thing ‘non’ bean looking. Cover the beans with water and soak 12 hours or overnight in a big soup pot. Drain and rinse until water runs clear. Bring 5 cups of water to boil. Add beans and boil 3 minutes covered. Reduce heat to low and cook at a simmer for 10 minutes. Add stock and beer. Add carrots, potato, and celery. Add spices and cabbage. Add chipolte pepper. Simmer very slowly for 2 hours, or place in crock pot on low for 6 hours. Remove bay leaves. Remove chipolte pepper and mince finely to add again or not, your choice.Add it. You will be glad you did. You are ready to ‘bowl up’ and have some really good food!