Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dry Bean Revival

The current trend toward frugal living makes it the perfect time to rediscover the goodness of bean soup.  Growing up it was a common meal in our home.  Mom would make a big pot of beans and that was what I consider comfort food.  I carried the tradition into my own family and served with corn bread, garlic bread or a salad to make a complete meal.  Most men appreciate a big pot of chili and for those who like it hot a bottle of Tabasco can spice it up.

On my last move my OLD Betty Crocker cookbook and 40 years of recipes got left behind so in order to share the recipes I will need to get into this new century and pull them from the internet.  What surprised me was that Ms. Crocker has even updated the recipes and added a vegetarian section to keep up with the changing eating habits.  Instead of one recipe for Chili there are more than 24 so browse for a while and see which one or many your family might enjoy.

Tasty and spicy chili made with beef and beans - perfect for dinner!
·       PREP TIME  30 Min
·       TOTAL TIME  1 Hr 50 Min
·       SERVINGS  4
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 to 16 oz) red kidney beans, undrained
·       1 Peel and chop the onion to measure 1 cup. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
·       2 In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked. Place a strainer or colander in the sink; line with a double thickness of paper towels. Pour the beef mixture into the strainer to drain. Return beef mixture to saucepan; discard paper towels and any juices in the bowl.
·       3 Into the beef, stir the chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper sauce and tomatoes with their liquid.
·       4 Heat the mixture to boiling over high heat. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cover with lid; cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
·       5 Stir in the beans with their liquid. Heat to boiling over high heat. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cook uncovered about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness.

Next on our list is Navy Bean Soup.
I just love it and look how easy it is to cook.  When I quit eating pork years ago I just wasn’t sure how I was going to give it the taste I loved.  I did find out two things that really improved the flavor.  The first is garlic, LOTS of garlic.  The second is substituting the pork for turkey ham or sausage.  I always like to fry them first even if they are precooked.  It seems to enhance the flavor. Another thing I like to do is use an old fashioned egg beater and blend the beans just a little before adding the vegetables.  I like my soups fairly hearty and thick.
Do your own experimenting and when you find your perfect recipe submit it to Betty Crocker for their selections in this category seemed more limited.
Enjoy this hearty soup that comes loaded with navy beans and veggies and is made easily at home on a stovetop!
·       PREP TIME 1 Hr 15 Min
·       TOTAL TIME 2 Hr 15 Min
·       SERVINGS  6
1 bag (16 oz) dried navy beans, sorted, rinsed
8 cups water
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 can (14 oz) vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
·       1 In 8-quart Dutch oven, heat beans and water to boiling. Boil uncovered 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.
·       2 Stir in remaining ingredients except parsley. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender.
·       Last but not least is
·       3 Stir in parsley. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Last but not least is Split Pea Soup.  I know this is not as popular with others as it is in our house but give it a try.  In making it I use the same modifications as mentioned for Navy Bean Soup.  One additional thing is when the soup is almost completely done I add milk.  That is the secret.  The Betty Crocker site has a number of variations to the soup that all look intriguing that I have not yet tried.  The one with sweet potato and spinach sounds very good. 
From Betty's Soul Food Collection... Comfort food in a bowl, homemade soup does wonders for the soul!
·       PREP TIME 20 Min
·       TOTAL TIME  3 Hr 50 Min
·       SERVINGS 8
2 1/4 cups dried split peas, (1 pound), sorted and rinsed
8     cups water
1     large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2  medium celery stalks, finely chopped (1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 ham bone or 2 pounds shanks
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/2 cups)

·       1 Heat peas and water to boiling in 4-quart Dutch oven. Boil uncovered 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour.
·       2 Stir in onion, celery and pepper. Add ham bone. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1 hour 30 minutes or until peas are tender.
·       3 Remove ham bone; remove ham from bone. Trim excess fat from ham; cut ham into 1/2-inch pieces.
·       4 Stir ham and carrots into soup. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until carrots are tender and soup is desired consistency.

Each of these recipes is provided by Betty Crocker and the link is on the recipe name so that you can see all variations by clicking on the link.  Better yet, pull our your recipe box and find your own.  Adding a soup to your menus even once a week can reduce your grocery bill and improve your families nutrition.  As you continue to practice and experiment you may find your own favorite family tradition.


Practical Parsimony said...

Those all look delicious. I love beans plain, just water and beans! Yes, it is strange. However, someday I may want to cook something for people who don't like my beans so plain. These recipes don't call for exotic or expensive additions.

Dee said...

I made some chili just this weekend. I am trying my hand at cooking for the whole week on the weekend.
Next weekend it'll be black bean soup.
I love that dry beans last almost forever in the pantry.

Carol Schultz said...

Good for you Diedra! It's great stuff! Have you seen my book review on once a month cooking? Lots of good ideas for cooking ahead of time.