Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Country Bean Soup Mix: A Gift For You or Them

pretty mix
I am so utterly sick of baking at this point. Some of you wonder why I named my blog "bipolar baking"--it's moments like this, when I'd really rather do anything other than bake. It's a love/hate thing. And, seriously, I baked 26 different kinds of goodies in less than 3 weeks.
...I'm sure two days from now, I'll be back to it.

So today, instead of whipping up confections or cookies, I've got a crock pot full of country bean soup while I police Thing 1 and Thing 2 as they take turns poking at the gifts under the tree.

The soup I'm making, I got as a gift from my mum. Being 12 hours apart makes it hard for her to just swing by to help me out--which I know she wishes she could do. Instead, she sent me dinner in a bag. As I started preparing it, I realized that this would make a really nice hostess gift for those of you who are traveling for the holidays or a nifty (yeah, I said it-whatcha gonna do about it?) stocking stuffer for a mom or mom-type. Once you have the ingredients, you can mix up a bunch of these at once to give or keep for later.

You can put this mix into a plastic bag or a cute Ball jar. Be creative.

Mix together the following dry ingredients:

1/2 cup dried navy beans
1/2 cup pinto beans
1/2 cup baby lima beans
1/2 dried kidney beans
1/2 cup Great Northern or white beans
** you may also want to try adding or substituting dry split peas, lentils, black beans and or pearled barely

For a pretty presentation in a large jar, mix the beans together and place in the bottom of the  jar. Then mix the following ingredients and place into a plastic bag to place on top of the beans.
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs dried mince onions
1 Tbs dried parsley
2 bullion cubes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

This part is optional. The mix I got from my Mum didn't have any seasonings so I just added what I wanted to it. Take into consideration who you are making the mix for and go from there--an experienced cook doesn't need as much help as a newly wed couple might. A new mom might appreciate the extra help; your mother in law might like a different blend of seasonings.
my soup, beginning to cook
It will thicken as it goes.

Regardless, the process for making the soup from this mix is the same. You can print the instructions on a 3x5 card or put it on a label on the container.

Cover the bean mixture with cold water and soak overnight. (*For quick cooking, cover the beans with water and bring to a boil for 2 minutes before letting soak for one hour). Drain and rinse before adding to a pot.
Add 5 cups of water or broth
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
Sliced kielbasa or a ham hock (once the soup has cooked a few hours, you can pick off the meat from the ham hock and remove the bone)
Dash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar

Add seasonings.

Cook for 1-2 hours on a stove top or 3-5 hours in a crock pot. Serve with some nice, crusty bread.

No comments: