4 Awesome Easy Bean Soups

smoked-sausage-white-bean-and-kale-soup

In my protein heavy diet, bean soups are a star player. I keep these four soups in rotation. These recipes make fairly large batches (6 – 1 cup servings or 12 – 1/2 cup servings) but they freeze well.

White Bean, Sage and Bacon Soup
White Bean, Kale and Chorizo Soup
Black Bean and Chicken Soup
French Green Lentil Soup

white bean soup

Note: All soups are better when you start with high quality chicken stock. You can’t beat stock home-made from Costco roasted chicken bones!

White Bean, Sage and Bacon Soup

white beans — 3 med cans (15.5 oz), rinsed
bacon — 2 slices thick or 4 slices thin – finely diced
garlic — 1 tsp granulated or finely diced fresh
sage — 1 tsp dry rubbed
chicken stock — 6 cups

Finely dice bacon and cook in pot over very low heat until bacon bits are thoroughly crispy. You want all the fat dissolved, or you will end up with rubbery bits in your soup.

Add all other ingredients and simmer 1 hour. Remove and set aside 1 cup of cooked beans. Run remaining soup through food mill or blender. Put whole beans back in.


White Bean, Kale and Chorizo Soup

chorizo — 1/4 cup finely diced
Note: You want the hard cured Puerto Rican style chorizo. The texture should resemble pepperoni. It functions more as a seasoning than a meat. If you can’t get hard cured chorizo, you can also make this soup with 1 cup pre-cooked bites of Italian sausage or any other sausage you like. Just keep in mind that the extra sausage makes it rather less effective as a diet food.
carrot — 1/4 cup finely diced
celery — 1/4 cup finely diced
onion — 1/2 cup finely diced
olive oil
white beans — 3 med cans (15.5 oz), rinsed
kale — 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen
canned tomatoes — 1 med can (14 oz)
garlic — 1 tsp granulated or finely diced fresh
chicken stock — 6 cups

Saute carrot, onion and celery and chorizo in olive oil over med-low heat until vegetables are soft and caramelized. Add all other ingredients and simmer 1 hour.

Time Saver Tip: Sauteing onion, celery and carrot into a mush is making mirepoix, a flavor base for many sauces, soups and stews. I like to make it in large-ish batches and freeze it in 1/2 cup servings. A half cup of prepared mirepoix is about the same as the onion, carrot and celery called for in these recipes.

imagesBlack Bean and Chicken Soup

chicken — 1 cup cooked white or dark meat, chopped or shredded
black beans — 3 med cans (15.5 oz), rinsed
garlic — 1 tsp granulated or finely diced fresh
cumin — 1/2 to 1 tsp to taste
carrot — 1/4 cup finely diced
celery — 1/4 cup finely diced
onion — 1/2 cup finely diced
olive or canola oil — 2 tbsp
chicken stock — 6 cups
sour cream
chives

Cook onion, carrot and celery in oil until soft and slightly browned. Add stock, beans, garlic and cumin and simmer 1 hour.

Remove and set aside 1 cup of cooked beans. Run remaining soup through food mill or blender. Put whole beans back in. Shred chicken meat and add to soup. Cook another 20 min. Serve with sour cream and chopped chives.

Time Saver Tip: Use leftover store bought roasted chicken. Eat much of the chicken, setting aside about 1 large chicken breast or equivalent amount of meat. Cook leftover chicken bones in 6 cups water for about 1/2 an hour. Can season with salt, garlic powder, onion powder or whatever you like. Strain out bones and set aside stock.

lentilsoup3French Green Lentil Soup

green lentils — 1 cup
Note: French dark green lentils are far tastier than the greyish ones. You can find them at Whole Foods in the bulk section.
chicken stock — 6 cups
bacon — 2 slices thick or 4 slices thin – finely diced (optional)
[alternative to bacon — 1/2 cup finely diced ham]
carrot — 1/4 cup finely diced
celery — 1/4 cup finely diced
onion — 1/2 cup finely diced
garlic — 1 tsp granulated or finely diced fresh
thyme — 1/2 tsp

Finely dice bacon and cook over low heat until bacon bits are thoroughly crispy. You want all the fat dissolved, or you will end up with rubbery bits in your soup.

Cook onion, carrot and celery in bacon fat (or oil if you skip bacon) until soft and slightly browned. Add 6 cups stock, lentils, garlic and thyme and simmer 20-30 min until lentils are tender, adding stock if necessary.

To make lentils as a side dish instead of soup, just cut stock down to 3 cups.

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