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NOTE:  When I originally posted this recipe, the soaking and cooking information was specific to the beans I used in the pictured soup.  This was a mistake. Dried beans may vary in the time they require for both soaking and cooking.  Packaged dried beans usually include these specific directions, but if not, or if you purchase beans in bulk, please consult this excellent site to determine the best soaking and cooking times for your beans.  I am deeply sorry if your Simple Pot of Beans was ruined due to my inadequate directions. ~K  

Once I described to my friend a favorite meal of my Mom’s pinto beans.  She laughed and called me a country-girl!  It was the first time I realized that not everyone thinks that a simple meal of deliciously seasoned beans is near perfection.   If you do, however, you might appreciate this recipe.  It’s simple, inexpensive and the results are delicious and versatile.  

A Simple Pot of Beans  

  • 1 lb dried beans (white, pinto, black, etc.)
  • 3 stalks of celery; if possible, include the leaves
  • 3 large carrots, quartered
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 good-sized cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-4 cups of  low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional toppings:  sour cream, plain yogurt (I love Fage Greek-style, 2%), shredded cheese, salsas, chutneys, chopped onions, crumbled bacon…

   

Thoroughly rinse beans, checking for bits of dirt, or even small pebbles.  Place beans in a large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with cold water.  Leave the beans to soak overnight.  In the morning, drain the beans and rinse once again.   

Place beans back into pot and cover with water up to one inch past the top of the beans.  Add the remaining ingredients through the bay leaf.  Add two cups of stock if additional flavor is desired (recommended, but not necessary).   

Bring beans to a low boil, then cover, with the lid slightly tilted, and reduce heat to medium low so that beans remain at a simmer.  Add additional stock or water as necessary to keep beans covered by about an inch of water.   

I try to fish out all of the peppercorns as well, but I usually miss a few. The cooking time is long enough to elminate their biting heat, but I'm always concerned that someone will catch a fiery one!

For the exact cooking time, check the package of beans, or consult this site which lists soaking and cooking times for all varieties of dried beans  

Remove garlic, vegetables and bay leaf from pot.  The carrots and garlic can be retained and pureed with some of the beans for this soup.  If needed, season with salt to taste.    

Add as many toppings as you like or eat them unadorned.  I strongly suggest a side of your favorite bread for a simple, delicious, hearty meal!  

NOTE:  These beans keep quite well in refrigerator and freezer.  I like to store some away to use with Taco Salad and Chili at another time.  

Happy Eating!  

~K

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