Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Soup, Ready in 24 Hours

This photo was taken a few bites in...I was just that impatient!

I'm getting to where my freezer and cupboard are filled to capacity without the same space shortage issue in the fridge.  And since a recent warm spell has gone away and we're back to more normal, windy weather for early March, this week seemed like as good as any for making a big pot of soup. 

Until now, the only other things I'd ever made that took more than one day were the broth for the post-Thanksgiving turkey noodle soup and the North African-inspired soup I made in the crock pot a week later.  Lately, one of the items that's been taking up a ridiculous amount of cupboard space is this huge, coffee can-sized container of dried soybeans that I got from my co-worker with a vegetarian daughter (the same one who passed along the big bag of TVP that I used to make the shepherd's pie).  Having never eaten the dried kind before, I accepted it without really knowing what I was getting.  Would I would like them enough to make them again, or would they end up in the compost bin without ever being soaked and cooked?  Over the weekend I decided it was time to find out one way or another and dispense with these and some other canned and dried beans. 

And here's where the plot thickens.  You see, I neglected to look up cooking times for soaked soy beans and assumed that they would cook in an hour or so, like other dried beans that have been soaked overnight.  Wrong.

I threw the following ingredients (except the black beans and green beans) into a pot around 6:00 last night and figured it wouldn't take more than an hour for the soy beans to cook through:

Seven Bean Soup:
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dry soybeans, soaked and drained
1 cup yellow split peas (?)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
salt and pepper to taste

As the evening wore on, I realized how very wrong it was to expect this to cook through in the same length of time as a package of HamBeens 15 Bean Soup.  When I went to bed a little after 9:00 (one thing about being an early morning runner is that you have a small child's bedtime), the soybeans were still crunchy!  So I took Steve's advice and turned the heat all the way down and let it cook through the night.

When I got up this morning...still crunchy!  G&^^$##*%!  So I turned the heat up a notch and headed out for my run.  Upon my return, they were...better, but they still had a ways to go.  So, I turned the heat back down to 1 and left for work a little after 7.  Thankfully, Steve works at home, so I didn't have to worry about the house burning down while I was away.  I ended up simmering it over low heat until about 5:30 tonight.  By that time, most of the soy beans were tender, but a few were still a little firm to the bite. 

Oh, well.  Since I ended up cooking it crock-pot style on the stove, the flavors had plenty of time to come together.  I added an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce near the end, which also gave it a little something something.  The soup was actually really good!  As Steve said, it was worth the wait. 

Now I know to plan ahead anytime I want to make more of these.  I'm thinking these have the potential to make a yummy cassoulet or slow cooker baked beans.  Stay tuned...

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