As fall comes around each year in the Northwest, I start thinking of new ways to incorporate dried beans into our regular soup rotation.
The inspiration for this tasty soup came from a nearly empty container of my own Cajun spice blend. It was time to finish it off and make a new batch. and because its fall, I had just scored a couple small cooking pumpkins, garnet yams (a variety of sweet potato) and andouille sausage.
The rest is history.
2 cups dried black beans, hydrated as directed below (6 cups cooked, drained beans); or substitute three 15-16-ounce cans black beans
2 tablespoons cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
14-16 ounces smoked andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch dice (about 3 loosely packed cups)
3 cups peeled, trimmed, chopped yellow onion (about 1½ large onion)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1-3 teaspoons Smokin’ Hot Cajun Spice (careful, it’s HOT)
2 cups trimmed. chopped celery with leaves
2 cups stemmed, ribbed, seeded, chopped red bell pepper (1 large bell pepper)
2 cups stemmed, ribbed, seeded, chopped green bell pepper (1 large bell pepper)
2 cups peeled, sweet potatoes or garnet yams, cut into ½-inch dice
2½-3 quarts chicken stock, plus more as needed
4 cups ripe, stemmed, chopped tomatoes with juice (or two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice)
1 teaspoon alder-smoked or regular sea salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
steamed short- or medium-grain white or brown rice
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- To slow hydrate beans, at least 8 hours before you plan to make the soup, put beans in a large bowl, and cover with cold water. Hydrate for 8-24 hours. Drain beans and discard water. Reserve.
- Or to fast hydrate beans, in a soup pot, cover beans with water, bring to a boil, and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let hydrate for at least 2 hours. Drain beans and discard water. Reserve.
- To brown andouille sausage, in a large soup pot or casserole, over brisk heat, heat olive oil, and add sliced sausage. With a wooden spoon, stir often to brown the meat evenly.
- To complete soup, lower heat, and add onion, garlic, and Smokin Hot Cajun Spice. Sauté slowly, about 10 minutes. until onions are translucent and tender but not browned.
- Add 2 quarts chicken stock, tomatoes, and hydrated beans.
- Bring to a simmer.
- If using hydrated, uncooked beans, partially cover soup pot, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until beans are tender, adding additional chicken stock as needed. (If using canned beans, decrease simmer time to 20 minutes.)
- Add celery, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper. Simmer until almost tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, until tender.
- To serve, scoop steamed rice into each soup bowl, ladle soup around it, and scatter parsley over the top.
Makes about 4 quarts.
Three Methods for Hydrating Dried Beans
From my earlier post, Cannellini Bean Soup with Italian Sausage, Fingerling Potatoes & Broccoli Raab:
“Most dried beans are not digestible until hydrated and cooked. There are at least three basic hydration methods, and depending on the dish, you can choose whichever method suits your fancy or time requirements. Because I often cook spur of the moment, I hydrate and cook large batches of dried beans in advance and freeze them in 2-cup increments. It’s a real time saver.
Method 1: Slow, Cold Hydration
Put rinsed and sorted beans into a large bowl, and cover with cold water. Soak for 8-24 hours. Drain beans and discard soaking liquid. This method is claimed to remove 60% of the complex bean sugars that contribute to indigestion.
Method 2: Fast, Hot Hydration
Put rinsed and sorted beans into a soup pot, and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and soak for 1 to 4 hours. Drain beans and discard soaking liquid. This method is claimed to remove 80% of the complex bean sugars that contribute to indigestion.
Method 3: No Hydration
Put rinsed and sorted beans into a soup pot, and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Cover pot and put in a 250° oven. Bake for about 75 minutes, until beans are tender, adding additional water at the halfway point, if necessary. Although many cooks swear by this method, if you’re prone to bean-induced indigestion, you might want to use another method. Also, textural quality is diminished somewhat with this method.
NOTE The soaking process removes some of the complex carbohydrates that are partly responsible for indigestion. The longer the soak, the easier the beans are to digest. On the other hand, this only applies to folks who don’t eat beans often. The more you eat beans, the better your body is able to digest them.
More LunaCafe Fall & Winter Soups
- Basic Little Potato & Five Onion Soup
- Curried Tomato & Red Lentil Soup
- Green Chile Chowder with Yellow Finn Potatoes & Italian Kale
- Heirloom Carrot Soup with Lemon Verbena, Spearmint & Garlic Gremolata
- New Year’s Day Black Bean Ancho Chili
- Roasted Garlic & Sunchoke Soup with Rosemary Hazelnut Pesto & Goat Cheese Crèma
- Smoky Spanish Zarzuela with Chorizo & Emmer Farro
- Sweet Carrot Bisque with Umami Pesto
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