Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pinto Bean Soup

Back in January, Jeff Novick posted a recipe that his cousin Sheila's grand daughter developed using dehydrated dried pinto beans. It looked interesting so I nabbed the recipe but did nothing about it for a while because I had my basic monthly menu that I already used.

I was roaming through my soup recipe folder to rotate out some soups we were getting bored with and replacing them with not-so-familiar ones and rediscovered this a few weeks ago. I had a choice of buying the beans from a vendor through Amazon or buying direct from Harmony House. When I saw HH allows payment through your Amazon account, that's what I did. The shipping was the same no matter where I bought it from, but buying direct from Harmony House was a buck cheaper than from a vendor, I knew I would get the freshest stock, and I certainly trust Amazon for payment. The beans came, I put the jar in the pantry closet, and again forgot about it until last week, when planning this week's menu. Finally, I was going to try this recipe!

Pinto Bean Soup with Brown Rice and Veggies
3 cups Harmony House dried pinto beans (blend until all are broken up).
3 Bay leaves
Teeeeeny pinch of thyme.
1 - 3 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime
6 cups of water.
Bring water to a boil.
Add everything.
Cook on low stirring 20 minutes. Add water or cook longer for desired thickness.
Before serving add Cooked Birdseye Steamfresh Brown and Wild Rice with Broccoli and Carrots.

First step was to toss those beans in the food processor and break them down into tiny pieces. I pulsed them for almost 5 minutes and still had about a third of unbroken beans, a third of smaller bean pieces, and a third of bean powder. Good enough.

I never use bay leaves, so skipped that.

I used 3 Dorot garlic cubes, equal to 3 large cloves. I know I should stop using these, since they contain a bit of oil, but I stocked up before winter with a dozen packages and I'm still working my way through them all. Only 4 trays left, then they're gone.

The "teeeeeny" pinch of thyme grew to about 2 tablespoons as cooking and tasting went on on, the last whole tablespoon going in the pot immediately prior to serving. It could have used more. Same as the Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime. I wound up with around 2 tablespoons of that, too.

I tried 3 stores and neither had the broccoli rice blend called for so grabbed another wild rice and veggie blend.

Here's where the directions get confusing. She wrote to add everything to the boiling water and cook, then add the frozen rice and veg mixture in before serving, yet in the photo on Jeff's page it shows a ladle of soup served over the separately cooked rice in a shallow bowl. I had bought 2 bags of the rice, assuming I was going to do as Sheila's grand daughter did in the photo (one bowl/bag for me, one for hubby), but even after letting the soup cook down for over an hour it was still very watery, so I just microwaved them and added both bags directly to the soup. 


As you see, the soup was still so watery the heavier vegetables and rice sunk to the bottom, and I only filled this bowl about a third full.

My husband and I had a debate over this soup. He liked it just fine, after the addition of all the extra spices, whereas I still found it quite bland. He told me my tastebuds must be messed up. He could be right - my sinuses had been acting up this allergy season. The leftovers did taste better the next day, but still on the bland side to me.

So, would I make this again? Well, since I only have 1 cup of the dried beans left I would have to buy more of them first. And decide if I want to buy another quart or go for the gallon size this time. Would I make this soup enough to make the larger purchase worthwhile? I'm not sure. I can always just use canned pinto beans and pulse them in the food processor for a while and greatly reduce the water. It would make a thicker soup, for sure. And I can always cook up a Lundburg wild rice blend and add my own vegetables, too. Of course, doing it that was would negate the "fast food" quality of the recipes Jeff usually shares with us. I'll have to think a bit before adding this one to our usual recipe rotation.

Jeff, if you see this, please tell Sheila to thank her grand daughter, and tell her to keep experimenting and sharing these recipes that fit into your Simple, Nutritional, and Affordable Plan. :) 


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