Hearty Mixed Bean Soup

Hearty Mixed Bean Soup

This entry is part 19 of 81 in the series Gluten-Free

To soak or not, THAT is the question! You may have thought it was “To be or not to be” but that isn’t nearly as fun to write about :o). Today’s Mixed Bean Soup brings up the age-old question, “Do I really need to presoak the beans?” The short answer is yes you do. Soaking the beans helps reduce the cooking time, reduces the natural sugars which we humans have trouble digesting, and because they are filled with water, soaked beans cook more evenly and are less likely to fall apart during cooking. Now you have some new trivia to entertain your friends with at your next party!

Legumes are a delicious and healthy source of protein. They are naturally low in fats and cholesterol and high in fiber, folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. While this recipe calls for a ham hock, you can leave it out if you want a vegetarian soup. But it does add a lot of flavor, so if you don’t include it, after soaking in water, drain the beans and use a flavorful vegetable stock to cook them in.

Today’s recipe is inspired by Barbara DeGroot, who writes the wonderful food blog, Modern Comfort Food.com. She focuses on fresh, updated approaches to comfort food classics. We both love comfort foods, so naturally I want to cook every single thing she writes about. I know you will enjoy following her!

Ingredients

  • To soak or not, THAT is the question! You may have thought it was “To be or not to be” but that isn’t nearly as fun to write about :o). Today’s Mixed Bean Soup brings up the age-old question, “Do I really need to presoak the beans?” The short answer is yes you do. Soaking the beans helps reduce the cooking time, reduces the natural sugars which we humans have trouble digesting, and because they are filled with water, soaked beans cook more evenly and are less likely to fall apart during cooking. Now you have some new trivia to entertain your friends with at your next party!
  • If you have been wanting to get more creative in the kitchen, this recipe is perfect for you. Using the basic concept of cooking aromatics and beans together, you can use anything you have in the cupboard to make this soup. I usually have a variety of dried legumes on hand and today I’ll probably use a combination of favas, split peas, and chickpeas. Maybe I’ll throw in a can of black beans toward the end too – they’ll look nice in the finished soup!
  • I am always looking for new ways to eat healthier and soups are the perfect simple meal. Combined with some slices of bread and a salad, you have a wholesome, filling, hot meal. Soups make wonderful weeknight dinners!
  • Jane’s Tips and Hints:
  • While you can use a single type of bean in this soup, using a variety adds interest, flavor, and texture. Also, don’t forget to preheat your soup bowls by warming them in a low oven or filling them with hot water for a few minutes. Cold bowls sap the heat from the soup and you wind up with lukewarm soup.
  • Hearty Mixed Bean Soup
  • Modified recipe from ModernComfortFood.com
  • Yield: about 8 main course servings
  • INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb of assorted dried beans (a 1 lb bag of “soup” beans works well or any combination you have on hand)
  • 2-1/2 quarts (10 cups) boiling water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 meaty ham hock (regular or smoked) (approximately 1/2 lb)
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (approximately 2 cups)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped celery
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (approximately 2 cups)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper, optional
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Read the whole recipe on The Heritage Cook