Italian Sausage Bean Soup

Posted on November 5, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Food - Sausage Soup

Staying with my Monday-make-soup theme, I whipped up this beauty yesterday in about 30 minutes.  It will feed us for 3 days!  Whoo-hoo, I don’t even have to think about dinner until Thursday!!

Hunting in the freezer I found 3 leftover Italian sausages from summer which I fried up in a pan and cut into small chunks with my kitchen scissors while they were still a bit frozen which made the cutting easier.  I had some yard work to do so I gently simmered 2 small bags of black-eyed peas and 2 small bags of garbanzo beans which I found in the basement storage bin.

I cooked them separately because the beans are two different sizes and I didn’t want the little ones getting mushy while the big ones were still cooking.  Each took about an hour and a half to cook up.  This was fine as I was busy with other things.  I like to do this because I freeze about 3/4 of the cooked beans and then it’s really easy to take them out and use them without having to start with the dry beans.  I avoid canned beans because of the plastic can lining which leaches into the food inside.

So, again, I started with sautéing a big onion in butter/olive oil.  Then I plopped in some frozen turkey stock with a little water.  The turkey stock was too much for this batch of soup so I just waited until enough of it melted to pull it out.  I threw it in a container with some of the beans and into the freezer for a future soup.

Then I chopped up some carrots and cabbage.  Also, I found some gorgeous dried mushrooms I brought back from Italy last month to throw in.  Then when there was a lot of hot liquid in the pot I put in a dozen medium sized frozen tomatoes.  After about 2 minutes I slipped the skins off of them and they just melted into the broth.  I really love frozen tomatoes in soup broth.

Lastly the spices and sausage went in.  I used Penzey’s Cajun spice again (trying to use that up) and some thyme, marjoram, and Aleppo pepper for zing.  I also peeled and crushed up about 8 cloves of my garden garlic to throw in.

Well, one bowl of this was plenty, it was so filling!  It felt like a grand reward for all the yardwork and window cleaning I did yesterday!  It would be easy to make this vegetarian/vegan by simply omitting the sausage – the beans were plenty of heft.  Also, veggie stock would be fine and the onion can sauté with coconut/olive oil.  Give soup-making a try – it is so much better than anything that could possibly come out of a can!

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Kitchen Sink Peanut Butter Soup

Posted on October 30, 2013. Filed under: Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Food - Soup with Peanut Butter

This has got to be the simplest soup I ever made!  Mostly I wanted some stuff out of my freezer to make a little room!  The stock, beans, zucchini,  tomatoes and celery root all came right out of the freezer and into the pot.  As usual, my recipes are vague – make it your own!  This is my new normal – make soup on Monday – enjoy 2 days off of cooking dinner!  It really hits the spot, too, with the weather turning cooler.

Simple Soup

A shlock of butter (maybe 1-2 Tablespoons – vegans can easily use coconut oil/olive oil)

1 big onion coarsely chopped

3-4 Cups grated zucchini

5 big tomatoes – whole with just the cores cut out

1 Cup or so celery root or parsnip

3-4 Cups cooked beans – any kind – I used small red and kidney

3 Cups turkey stock (could be any kind of stock you have on hand – vegans can easily use veggie stock)

About 3/4 Cup organic, natural peanut butter (could also be almond butter – it doesn’t really flavor the soup, just thickens it and adds heft to the broth)

Seasonings:  about 1 Tablespoon Penzey’s Cajun Seasoning (a nice blend from our local spice company worth looking into:  Penzeys.com

about 1 teaspoon Penzey’s Berbere Seasoning (careful – very hot – if you use a lot, just a nice little warmth and zing if you use a little)

If you don’t have the above seasonings just use plain old chili powder as a substitute.  Also, try hunting around in your spice cabinet and adding some others like Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Old Bay Seasoning – all would be great additions.

about 1 Tablespoon dried garlic pieces (could be fresh)

about 2 teaspoons sea salt

Water to fill pot

Chopped yellow bell pepper for garnish

Chopped fresh garlic for garnish

1.  Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until onion starts to smell good and create brown stuff on the bottom of the pan.  Scrape up brown stuff – that’s the flavor!

2.  Add other veggies and beans except tomatoes.  Use a variety of what you have.  Can be fresh or frozen.

3.  Add seasonings and then stock and water.  Get it all steaming hot and then add tomatoes for just a few minutes after which you can slip the skins right off of them to compost.

4.  Right before serving stir in the peanut butter.  Then top each bowl with peppers and garlic.  (Other toppers work great too – chopped herbs like parsley/basil, chopped avocado, grated carrot or beet, use your imagination!)  Yum!

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