Bean soup – how basic can it be? Well, that’s what I like about this recipe – it can be as basic as you want it, or by adding more ingredients and/or exotic beans, you can change the complexity and depth of the flavors.
I first learned of this soup recipe from Emily Barnes. She wrote a book “More Hours In My Day” and I was fascinated by her concept of organization and family. I started going to her workshops and seminars. How did she keep her life together despite having five children and a husband to take care of. She had nutritious dinners on the table every evening, a clean and well-organized house, well let’s just say she was a “Martha Stewart” in my world.
The link to her book (above) tells her story. If you have the time, it is worth the read (after clicking on the link scroll down to page 7). In Emily’s lifetime, she and her husband Bob wrote 65+ books – organization books, cookbooks, spiritual books, (they both passed away a few years ago). Emily lives on through the legacy that she left. I still have the first version of her book “More House In My Day” which was a 3-ring notebook filled with colorful pages. I incorporated many of her concepts into our family household (my husband hates that the Christmas boxes are numbered and indexed, however, I do know what is in each box!).
Okay, enough travel down memory lane, let’s get back to the bean soup recipe. Since first making this recipe in the early 80’s, I have modified it quite a bit. The original recipe can be found in Emily’s cookbook “Soups & Muffins” that she wrote with Sue Gregg.
The ingredients for the bean soup can easily be picked up at any grocery or market. You can make your own combination with dried beans from the bulk aisle or by purchasing a prepackaged combination of beans. I have often made up jars of this combination of beans and given them away for gifts with the recipe tied to the jar. (It’s an easy project to do with children too – and they love to make these bean soup jars for their teachers.)
One bean I add (because we grow them) is the Scarlett Runner Bean. They are very easy to grow and are a large and hearty bean. Here’s the link to my blog on Scarlett Runner Beans to learn more about them. These beans are not easy to find in the grocery store, but if you run across them in a specialty store, do pick some up and try them in this recipe or any recipe that uses dried beans. I believe you will find them a great addition to your bean collection.
Sauté the trio (carrots, onions, and celery). I usually also add garlic too because I like it and think it adds a nice flavor depth to any recipe. So my “trio” is actually a “foursome.”
Add beans and seasoning to the pan of sautéed vegetables and then let them simmer.
Bowl of soup with a nice loaf of bread, yes, please!
Added shredded chicken, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese for a hearty dinner on a cold evening.
If you don’t like some of the beans listed in this recipe, exchange them for ones you do like. And, you don’t have to use all 10 beans every time you make the soup. Scale back the ingredients a little so you can make the soup with the 6 or 7 varieties of beans you do have in your cupboard.
Tax day is near in the US – make up a pot of this bean soup for the hard-working beancounters laboring over accounting and taxes! They will thank you for it.