Help me make soup?
If you’ve got a crock-pot, it couldn’t be easier. Toss the beans, lentils and chickpeas into the pot. Add diced carrots, celery, maybe a turnip or parsnip, chicken stock, and seasonings of your choice (pepper, parsley, NO SALT!). Set on low and leave it alone for 12 hours. Add sliced sausage and cook another hour or so. Then taste and salt as necessary. If you salt soaking/cooking beans, they’ll never get soft. Salt at the end.
You can really play with this, you know. Add crushed tomatoes, cumin, garlic and the like and you can get a nice “chili-flavored” soup. Use beef stock, toss in a bay leaf and it gets hearty. Play around with it.
Without a crock-pot: Quick-soak beans. Drain, add other dry ingredients and proceed as above.
I do have a crockpot; I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to use the thing. I get off work at midnight; I may just go home and fire the thing up and have soup ready to eat before I have to come back to work tomorrow afternoon. Thanks!
Check your chicken stock for salt. If it has a good amount, then quick-soak your beans.
No onion??? No garlic??? Were you raised by wolves???
That’s why I said “seasonings of choice.” Some people (like my wife, who is a wonderful person otherwise, don’t like onions or garlic. Sad, but true.)
Personally I’d load the soup with more spices than you can shake a Penzey’s catalog at.
You’ve got the makings of some variety of cassoulet, a French stew of beans and sausage (I see that there are approximately ten million variations of it, this is just what I’m familiar with). I’ve made it using white kidney beans and chicken-apple sausage, yummy. Pretty much what others have said - I’d recommend soaking and rinsing the beans at least twice (to get rid of a lot of the extra sugars that make you toot), then put beans and sliced sausage in a pot or slowcooker and let it simmer. Water or stock for the liquid. Seasonings as you desire - smoked sausage probably has plenty of flavor so you might just need a little salt & pepper and a bay leaf or two.
Ooh, good tip. I’ll make sure I pick up the salt-free stuff when I go to the store.
Wait a minute…what? You’ll have to provide some sort of evidence that this happens, as I’ve never experienced it. Or are you just talking about crockpot cookery? I would really recommend that Marlitharn bring the beans to a boil on the stove, turn off the heat and let them sit for an hour, then drain, rinse and add to the crockpot. Beans commonly don’t get cooked through in a crockpot, but I doubt it has anything to do with salt. I could be terribly wrong, of course, as I don’t do crockpot cooking.
Cook’s Illustrated actually recommends salting the soaking water, but every time I’ve done that, the beans turn out tough. Maybe I’m just using old beans, but I always salt later rather than earlier. If sausage is going to be added, then you really need to hold off on the salt until the last minute, because you don’t know what the sausage will add to the soup, and you don’t want mushy meat by cooking the sausage all 12 hours or so.
As for beans cooking through, I’ve never had any trouble using my crockpot for that. Set it on high for a few hours and we’re good to go. I’ve made many a batch of basic baked beans that way.
You know, either they don’t make salt-free stock, or I couldn’t find it.
I went ahead and quick-soaked my beans, then threw them in the crockpot with some chopped garlic, onion, carrots, diced tomatos, chicken stock, and some seasonings. All night it crocked away, and I added my sausage about noon and let it cook for another hour or so.
And I really don’t like beans very much, I’m trying to work them into my diet because they’re cheap and healthy. I’ll make this again, though, it was quite tasty. Next time I think I’ll try beef stock and maybe some more veggies.
Glad you found a keeper recipe! Beans are a great source of fiber as well as nutrition, besides being dirt-cheap. I’ve been known to whomp up a batch of pintos to go with just about anything.
According to Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, one of the most authoritative tomes on food science for the layperson:
That said, I’d always hold off on salting when you’re cooking with a salty ingredient like sausage.
Doesn’t like onions or garlic? Hmm. I’ve got a couple of important questions for you: Does your wife sleep a lot during daylight hours? Does her bed have a lid? Does she have trouble seeing her reflection in a mirror? Does she often go out for long hours in the dead of night, and then return covered in, or smelling of, blood? How about her palms? Are they hairy? She have a phobia of crucifixies and/or holy water? Are there often reports of dead animals ripped asunder by some mysterious beast in your area? Do you ever find your wife biting your neck with a little bit too much “enthusiasm”?
No, no, no, yes, no, no, yes, yes.
It was actually bad sentence construction on my part. My lovely, not-undead wife doesn’t like onions, but loves garlic. It’s a texture thing from childhood. I can sympathize, because I have a similar hatred for wax beans, from the same sort of childhood trauma.
But, believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much garlic. When I was still a bachelor, I once made a meal of Trader Joe’s Tomato and Garlic fettucini, with their Extra Garlic sauce, and garlic bread. I think I stunned my digestive system for a good 48 hours. My flatulence registered on the Richter Scale.
Lentils don’t need to be soaked. Chef Troy once told me to use chicken stock to cook black beans, and ever since then, I have used LOTS of chicken base (Better Than Bullioun) to cook LOTS of all sorts of beans. I will always use chicken stock now, unless I have beef of some sort in the beans, then I’ll use beef stock.
In fact, I have half of a ham steak (with bone!) in the freezer, and also some pinto beans. I think that I’m gonna go soak my beans and have ham ‘n’ beans ‘n’ cornbread tomorrow. “Beans, beans, the musical fruit…”
I did a split pea soup with a ham bone I had in my freezer. Major yummy. No need to add salt either.
The only dried beans I’ve had trouble softening are split peas. What burns me is that they’re generally in the 13-bean soup mixtures. The big lima white beans are all cooked to death, and you’ve got these hard peas in there. Dried chickpeas aren’t much better.
Marlitharn, do you ever buy canned beans? I couldn’t live without them. Much faster than cooking up dried beans, and no flavor loss that I can tell. I frequently cook up onions and garlic, and add cans of diced tomatoes, red beans, and black beans. Heat thoroughly and serve over rice. Tres yum.