Saturday, December 31, 2016

Try a Happy New Year Soup has 150 recipes for foods used mark the death of the old year and to celebrate the birth of the New Year.  There are seven ingredients that are common among food celebrations at this time of year that include beans, greens, and pork most commonly, but also fish, cake, fruit, and noodle & grain dishes.   Beans, black eye peas, lentils, and other legumes are most popular throughout the South to promote prosperity in the New Year.  A good reason for this may be that they are inexpensive, so don’t bust the budget and carry you into January already in debt for celebrating a new beginning. 

I decided to do a mixed bean soup, which I think is so delicious that it would be great to share it.  The best part for a bean soup is that the preparation is done to reduce or nearly eliminate the food’s gas.  I got a kick of a new term I picked up today for this today, the chair trumpeter.  I hadn’t come across that one before.  It’s obviously something to be avoided both for the trumpeter and all those listening to the music. 

Another great thing about the soup is that it can be done in large quantity and enjoyed for a week.  This is something Lynn Johnson will appreciate.  We heated with a Fisher wood stove for decades.  Wood stove heat is one of the most enjoyable there is, but the down side is that it dries the house.  To kill two birds at once, we’d make a huge pot of bean or vegetable soup and set it on the back of the stove.  The simmering returned moisture to the house, and the soup was always on to enjoy after getting chilled working outside, or when company came in with appetites needing to be satisfied.  So, give this a try.

Mixed Bean Soup

Pour two cups of mixed, dried beans in a large sauce pan and cover with several inches of water.  Allow to soak for a minimum of overnight, or up to 24 hours.  Pour the soaked beans into a colander, drain, and rinse with running water.  This is how you get rid of the gas in the beans while also getting them clean.  Pour the beans back into the pot and cover with at least 2” of water.  Bring to a boil, covered with a lid, for a minimum of 10 minutes.  Turn the fire off and let sit for 30 minutes.  Pour into the colander and drain and rinse.  Be sure to watch the pot in this first boil in particular, as large quantities of gassy residue will come off and can make a mess of the stove.  Repeat the boil, soak, drain and rinse at least a second time. 

While this is going on, dice 2 cups of onion (two large onions), at least 2 stalks of celery, a couple carrots, and 4 garlic cloves.


Return the beans to the pot.

Pour in a full container of chicken broth, about 14 ozs..

1 tsp. olive oil.

Add chopped vegetables (I cheated by using a can each of carrots, whole corn, green beans, and diced Mexican flavored tomatoes.  I enjoy something resembling more of a stew than a thin soup.)

Begin heating.  Bring liquid level to within a couple inches of top of pan.  Including broth, this will be about 7 cups of broth/water.

Add to taste 2 tsp. savory leaves (or this can be replaced with 1 tsp. dried sage and 1 tsp. dried marjoram), 1-2 tsp. black pepper, ½ to 1 tsp. each of cumin and turmeric.

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 2 hours.  In the last half-hour or so add 2 cups of shaped pasta of your choice.  If not simmering on the wood stove, refrigerate and reheat individual servings in the microwave.

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