“An Old Favorite”
It used to be that beans were considered a “poor man’s food” but, in most recent times the bean has been recognized as a very desired and nutritious meal.
These seeded pods of the Leguminosae Family are among the oldest foods known to humanity, dating back at least 4,000 years.
There are many varieties of beans and some are considered heirloom beans. Some of these “heirloom beans” I am certain could tell fantastic stories of history, countries and people…… I wonder how a curious name like the “Eye of Goat Bean” came about and the “White Speckled Brown Cow Bean?” These two beans were just recently discovered in a cave in Kenya, Africa, and believed that they originated in that country.
Beans show their different characteristics not only by their looks, but surprisingly differ greatly in flavor and taste. Some are mild, while others have robust, hearty flavors. Many have a nutty taste or even taste sweet with creamy textures when cooked. Others remain firm when cooked and stay intact. Many varieties hold their spectacular colors when cooked while others discolor. Having discovered these wonderful differences in beans has enabled many an imaginative chef to develop exciting recipes that put the bean onto an elegant table in many of today’s best restaurants all over the world.
Nutritionally the bean is full of vitamins. When fresh and eaten in the green state the bean contains Vitamin A and C. Dried beans are rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron. In many countries where meats are scarce, the dried bean is the main source of protein.
Here is a basic bean soup that can become any nationality you would want it to be every time you make it.
Basic Bean Soup
Use any kind of bean…….
4 cans – 15.5 oz each – beans…..any kind you like or prefer
Rinse the beans with water thoroughly
before you add them to the soup pot
1 large onion – diced – caramelized in a little olive oil
do this in your soup pot
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, grated or sliced
4 cloves garlic – pressed or chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste – optional
4-6 cups Chicken Stock – or less, depending how much soup you want.
½ lb (8oz) smoked Sausage – cooked and diced – optional
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar or lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
Pepper and Salt to balance the flavors……….
Add all ingredients in a soup pot and boil the soup until the vegetables are just tender.
With a hand blender……blend and puree to thicken the soup a little
but, this is optional as well.
Add sugar and vinegar
Taste the soup……..then add pepper salt to balance the flavors
Serve with sour cream and green onions….or match it with condiments of whatever your soup’s Nationality will be!
Hungarian……add Sweet and Hot Paprika to the onion after it is just caramelized and take it off the heat ….so that the Paprika does not burn……then add a smoked Hungarian Sausage cut into small pieces and let it boil up for just a minute or two…….serve with sour cream, cubed bell pepper and chopped parsley……..and some crusty bread.
Curried Bean Soup……..add Curry powder or make your own and continue as in the Hungarian soup. Roast a leg of lamb and add roasted lamb instead of a sausage…..Serve Yogurt Sauce ……yogurt, chopped cucumbers and chopped mint or dill… You might like to serve this soup with rice.
Polish Bean Soup……..add a smoked Polish sausage and salt and pepper….sour cream…..and chopped scallions…..and noodles.
German Bean Soup….add German Bratwurst and instead of the vinegar add red wine and chopped parsley…….and Knoedel (dumplings)
Mexican Bean Soup……..add Chorizo sausage and chili and cumin…….or add a packet of Taco or Chili mix into the soup…….and serve with sour cream and chopped Cilantro, grated cheese, and warm flour Tortillas.
Italian Bean Soup………add 2 Tbsp of Tomato paste, Linguisa sausage and Balsamic Vinegar…….serve with pasta and Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy a bowl of bean soup,
warm your hands while holding it near,
in whatever country you call home.
I will answer any questions about this recipe……just leave me a comment…….and…… do let me know how you liked the soup after you made it…..mine is now cooking on the stove!