LINDA’S BEAN SOUP

This is great served as a main course with cornbread or is great served along side with a brisket and yellow rice. And you can use any kind of beans that you like.

Serves: 8 to 10
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

**-Beans, either dry 16 oz. Bag (must soak overnight or follow directions on package) or canned about 4 cans (drain); (I use pinto or black beans, but any beans will work)
-Bacon cut up (about ½ to 1 pound for a large pot)
-Onions & Garlic (chopped) (I use a large onion and a whole head of garlic)
-Chicken broth (about 3 32 oz. cans or cartons of broth)
-Sausage (4 or 5 links)
-Tomatoes (both chopped and whole) (fresh or canned) about 2 cans chopped and 4 fresh whole tomatoes
-Rotel tomatoes (one or two cans)
-Peppers fresh (jalapeno, Serrano, habanero) (I use one each-whole)
-Beer (one can)
-Cilantro (one bunch; the whole bunch including stems)
-Fresh Chives and/or green onions (one bunch)
-Oregano (fresh or dried) if using fresh herbs always use 3 times that of dried herbs
-Cumin (1/4 cup)
-Cayenne Pepper (one tablespoon)
-Chili Powder (1/4 cup)
-Salt & Pepper (freshly ground) to taste
-Green Pepper (optional)
-Rice (Optional)
**When using black beans add 2 to 4 smoked ham hocks for great flavor.

Method

I fry up the bacon and add the onions and garlic. Be sure not to overcook the garlic or it will get bitter. If this happens, you might as well start over because burned garlic is really bad. Then I add the sausage and brown it. Again make sure you don’t overcook the garlic. Then I add the broth, beans, a beer, the tomatoes, Rotel peppers, fresh peppers (I use one of each) and all the spices and then finish with water to cover the beans by about 2”. Bring to boil (do not allow it to burn) and then reduce heat to simmer. Depending on whether I use dried beans or fresh beans, the cooking time will vary. With dried beans, it takes about 2 to 3 hours to cook. You can then serve the beans with sour cream, fresh chives, fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, and fresh cilantro. Also if you want, you can add some rice (either cooked or uncooked) directly into the beans towards the end of the cooking period. Or you can just serve the beans over a bed of rice. I use yellow rice, but white rice works just as well. The rice will give you more of a full feeling, if you know what I mean.

P. S. Funny store. One day I had a pot of beans on the stove and had to run to the store, so I asked Terry (my husband) to keep an eye on the beans so they would not burn. I was gone longer than expected, and when I came back, because the beans had reduced a lot of the liquid, Terry came to the rescue. During the hour or two I was gone; he managed to keep putting beer into the beans rather than water. He put in a whole six-pack of beer (UGH)!! Anyway, I managed to rescue the beans by adding massive amounts of water and reducing the water. They were “OK”, but I highly recommend only one beer and not an entire six-pack.

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