The meatless bean soup after it was finished!
My idea of quick when it comes to bean soup is something that can be finished in about 2-2.5 hours max, as opposed to letting it cook for half the day. Let's get one thing straight, I don't do 15 minute soups out of a package!
As a Catholic, I not only abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, as is required of all Catholics, but throughout the year because we are to observe some kind of sacrifice, act of charity, or act of piety on Fridays. After mixing it up on Fridays between these things, I found it easier just to give up meat unless there is something special happening that would make this difficult, at which time I opt for giving up something else. According to Catholic apologist, Jimmy Akin, we can use soups made from meat, but I wanted to see if I could make this soup reasonably tasty with vegetable broth.
I was pleasantly surprised with how well this soup came out. I am a meat eater and I most especially like recipes with smoked meat. Rather than use dried beans and my slow cooker, I used canned beans which are already cooked.
Here are the ingredients:
½ stick of butter or substitute
1 medium onion
3 celery hearts
3 medium carrots
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 – 32oz carton Kitchen Basics Vegetable broth
1 20 oz can mixed beans
2 15.5 oz can Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Organic Soup Beans
1 can Butter Beans
4-5 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tbsp dried Thyme
1 Tbsp McCormick Italian Seasoning
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste (optional)
The variety of beans are seen in this photo, with the large butter beans - my favorite - standing out
Use organic, low-sodium canned beans which are fully cooked.
Substitute with other canned beans. The Westbrae soup beans are a mix of beans, barley and lentils in water and sea salt. I drained them somewhat, but may not next time.
Chop onions and celery finely, or to desired size. Saute on medium heat in the butter until onions are somewhat transparent. Slice carrots and continue to sauté another 3-5 minutes (careful not to burn). Create a place in the pan where the garlic can be sautéed and add. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add vegetable broth, all beans, bay leaf, cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and let it cook at a low to medium boil for 1 hour, uncovered. Add potatoes, thyme and Italian seasoning. Continue to simmer and taste broth about 15 minutes after herbs go in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Soup is done when potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, but do not fall apart (about another 10-15 minutes).
Thickness of soup is controlled by evaporation. If after 1 hour it is still really watery, then let it continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes before adding potatoes and herbs. The herbs (thyme and Italian seasoning) give the soup the most flavor if they go in towards the end (20-30 minutes remaining).
Remove bay leaf before serving. Freezes well.
It makes about 3.5 – 4 quarts, depending on evaporation.
- Add a can of petite sweet corn (would sweeten it).
- Add a Tbsp or two of hickory or mesquite liquid smoke. See how liquid smoke is made in this YouTube video.
I had one bowl with about 1/4 tsp of hickory simmered in and it was pretty good. Mesquite is better paired with things like baked beans, imho.