Saturday, September 29, 2012

Finding redemption after shopping on autopilot

Do you ever find yourself bumbling through a supermarket on autopilot, not really considering what goes into the shopping cart until you’re unloading it at the cash register?

This is what happens when I shop in zombie mode:

Yup, that’s a ridiculously small portion of dry multi-bean mix. I spotted these beans in the bulk bins a while back and thought it would be a good idea to bring some home for a future soup recipe. The problem is that I wasn’t thinking of how many beans should probably go into this soup, and I only bought about a cup of mixed beans. Ridiculous! Luckily I had plenty of dried pintos and lentils to mix in with the aforementioned sad scoop of beans. Throw the hodge podge into a pot with some veggies and spicy sausage and boom, you’ve got a delicious, filling soup for the masses.

You can prepare dry beans for a recipe like this a couple different ways. One option is to soak the beans in water overnight. What I did, because I forgot to soak my beans, is go with a “quick soak” method by putting the bean mix in a large pot, adding enough water to cover the beans with a couple inches of water, and bringing the pot to a boil. After a couple minutes of rolling boil, you can remove the pot from heat and let the beans sit, uncovered, for an hour before draining. Either method will get you beans that are ready to be cooked. And no matter which method you employ, be sure to rinse the beans prior to soaking and pick out any stones or bad beans.

Bean Bonanza Soup 
2 cups mixed dry beans, soaked, drained and rinsed
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
28 oz can stewed tomatoes with liquid
2 cups andouille sausage links
1 white onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, celery,oregano and bay leaves. Sauté for a couple minutes before adding sausage to pot and sautéeing for a couple more minutes. Add tomatoes to the pot, using hands to crush tomatoes. Stir in beans and broth and bring to a boil before reducing heat. Allow pot to simmer, covered, for 30-60 minutes, until beans are tender. Remove bay leaves before serving soup.

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