Mixed Bean & Veggie Soup

Created 19 Jan 2013 16:10, Updated 11 Jan 2016 20:31

Mixed Bean Soup with Vegetables

from Modern Comfort Food

(Note: this turned out very well on the first try. I was worried for a little bit because when I tasted the soup at one point, it was a little weak. The flavor was good, but didn't have a lot of heft to it. However, after cooking it a little while longer, and probably after the beans broke down more, the flavor deepened nicely. I used the speedier bean cooking method of boiling the beans, letting them soak for an hour, and then draining the water.)

INGREDIENTS
1 pound of assorted dried beans (a 1 pound bag of 15-variety dried beans works well)
2 1/2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1 meaty ham hock (approximately 1/2 pound) or more
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (approximately 2 cups)
3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
2 c coarsely chopped celery
3 large carrots, cut into 1/2″ cubes (approximately 2 cups)
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped (or 2 15-ounce cans chopped tomatoes)
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional addition not in the original recipe)
1 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD
Rinse beans well, drain, and place in a large stock pot. Add water, cover, and allow to soak at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight. Alternatively, you can immediately boil the beans on high for 2 minutes, remove the stock pot from the burner, and set it aside for one hour before proceeding with the next step of the recipe.

Add ham hock and bay leaf to stock pot, cover, and simmer until the beans are just tender, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Separately, in a large frying pan, sauté onions and garlic on medium heat for 2 minutes or until wilted. Add celery and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and carrots, and sauté for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add frying pan contents, crushed red pepper, and vinegar to stock pot and simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes, adding water, if necessary, to achieve the soup consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Remove bones, if preferred.

Serves 8 as a main course.

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