Sunday, March 09, 2014

Country Bean Soup....Great For Lent and The Best Bean Soup EVER!!

The first time I had this bean soup was at my parish after a Wednesday evening Mass during Lent. Some of the ladies at my parish had each cooked a big pot of this soup at home (following the same recipe), and then they combined them in a huge kettle in the parish kitchen. It was served with a nice crusty bread, and was so good! They came around offering seconds, and I did not pass it up. Then one of the ladies came back, and told me there was so much left, they didn't want to throw it out, would I be willing to eat a third bowl. Well, let me tell you...she did not have to twist my arm!

That's one of the great things about being a bachelor at parish meals. The ladies make sure you get fed!

So I found the recipe, and will be making this once again for myself very soon. I included at the bottom the addition of ham for after Lent, but let me tell you, this soup is so good, it doesn't need the meat! The best bean soup ever!!

1 cup dried navy, great Northern, or lima beans, sorted and rinsed
5 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 medium-size carrots, shredded
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped .
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1/4 cup minced parsley

To quick-soak beans, in a large saucepan, combine beans and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, for overnight method, combine beans and 4 cups water. Let stand in a cool place at least 8 hours or overnight.) Drain and thoroughly rinse beans.

In the same pan, combine the beans, chicken broth, cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Discard bay leaves. Using a fork, slightly mash some of the beans against side of saucepan. Stir in the parsley. Makes 4 side-dish servings.

Prep Time: 15 minutes plus soaking Cooking Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

1 Serving: Calories 180. Total Fat 1 g. Saturated Fat 0 g.
Protein 11 g. Carbohydrate 34 g. Fiber 8 g.
Sodium 288 mg. Cholesterol 0 mg.

Country Ham and Bean Soup Prepare as for Country Bean Soup, adding 1 cup bite-size pieces cooked lower-sodium ham with vegetables and omitting the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

1 Serving: Calories 242. Total Fat 3 g. Saturated Fat 1 g.
Protein 20 g. Carbohydrate 35 g. Fiber 8g.
Sodium 433 mg. Cholesterol 23 mg.


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