Tuesday, February 10, 2015

14 Bean Soup

Hello, everyone!  We've started another week, and while we're one week closer to spring, we're still in the grips of winter.  As I've stated before, during the winter, I love a nice stick to your ribs meal, that I can curl up and dive into.
Is it possible to curl up and dive into something at the same time?  I'm not sure...I'll say it is with a bowl of soup!
The best part of this soup, is that it makes a large batch, so I like to freeze the leftovers, slit up into quart sized zip top bags, so I can take out as much (or as little) as I would like to thaw out!
For this soup, I used some leftover shredded pork as the protein, but shredded chicken, or some lean stew meat would work really well, too.
I like to buy large Boston Butts when they're on sale at the grocery store, cook the entire roast in my slow cooker, shred it all up, then freeze the leftovers.  I'll usually use them for either quesadillas or, put it into a delicious soup, which is what I've chosen to do today!
Here's your grocery list for this one:
3 C shredded pork (or, again, chicken, stew meat, or even shrimp!)
1/2 - 1 C White wine
2 quarts chicken stock
Dried bean soup mix
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
1 Tbs dried oregano
1/2 Tbs dried parsley 
1/2 Tbs chili powder 
1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and wrung out
1 can of corn, drained

Alright, to start off with, the night before you make this soup, you'll need to soak your beans in a large pot.  Make sure your beans are covered by at least 1 inch of water.  You can use whatever bean soup mix you'd like; for today's soup, I used a 14 bean soup mix.  These usually come with a little flavor packet; they're so high in sodium, I just toss them out.  Let these beans soak overnight, or at least, start soaking them very first thing in the morning, but it may take them longer to cook.
Before you add them to your soup, drain off the water, and set them aside.

Now that your beans are ready, mince up your garlic, and saute it gently over medium heat, with about 1 tsp of olive oil, for just a minute or so.

Once your garlic has softened, add in your shredded pork, and let this warm through, then mix in your beans.

Add in your herbs, and again, mix well.  Now its time to add in your liquids!  In goes the chicken stock, and white wine.

Bring up to a simmer, and let this cook for at least 2-3 hours, testing the beans at the 2 hour mark.  Depending on how long you let the beans soak earlier, will reflect how long they will need to become tender in this soup.  As everything cooks together, you'll notice some fat coming to the surface.  Just scoop it out with a spoon, and continue letting it simmer.

About 30 minutes before you're ready to serve, add in the corn and spinach.  These don't take long at all to cook through, and you don't want them to over cook, so you want to add them in at the last minute!  I like to serve this up with a slice of fresh bread, or cornbread and dig in!