As the weather starts turning colder the only thing I want to eat are soups (or chilies and stews but that’s another post). From somewhere around November through March I become a Rene-cicle. I start judging how cold a night is by how many pairs of sweatpants and sweatshirts I wear to bed. Last night marked the first time this year I wore two pairs of sweatpants to bed. It’s officially cold in Sacramento. The calendar turned from October to November and California went “Oh, right. Its supposed to be cold now. No more 79 degree days for you kids. Have fun with 60 degrees!”
Things that help Rene-cicles? Soups. Lots and lots of soups. Luckily last week, even though it wasn’t that cold out, I really wanted a minestrone-style soup minus the noodles…which just becomes a bean soup. Delicious bean soup. With the sudden drop in temperatures around here, it was fortuitous that I made up some bean soup last week.
I have awesome memories of my mom making chicken noodle soup for me when I sick and her version of split pea soup was my first encounter with the stuff, and still remains my favorite. My dad also made soups but he liked bean soups, Navy Bean Soup and Ham Hock and Beans. Except after Thanksgiving. Then he makes this amazing turkey noodle soup with broth that’s made from the barbequed turkey carcass so it has this wonderful smokey flavor to it. This year I hope to photograph it and share it with everyone :).
This 3 bean soup definitely warms you up from the insides out and not just because its soup; I added some crushed red peppers to it for an additional kick. A definite perk of this soup is that its fast and easy. I used canned black, red kidney, and cannellini beans rinsing them all thoroughly to remove as much of the salt as possible.
I cooked the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms in a garlic infused olive oil that my roommate has from Costco. Seriously it makes any dish taste amazing.
Since,in my mind, I was going for a minestrone-style soup itself was simply seasoned with some salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, lots and lots of garlic, lemon zest and juice, and the aforementioned red crushed peppers for heat. After finishing the last bowl of soup, I wished I had put some earthy sort of spice in the mix too; it seemed like the soup was missing something. I’ll definitely throw in a bay leaf or two the next time I make it. Maybe some cumin? Cinnamon might be an inspired choice too. What spice/spices would you add to the soup for a more earthy flavor?
The lemon was kind of a last second addition. I absolutely love citrus and the lemons added a nice note of brightness to the soup. It also made the soup not feel as heavy as it could have been. That being said, its definitely a snuggle-under-the-blanket kind of soup. Perfect for those chilly nights ahead!
This soup also has the perk of being infinitely customizable. Don’t like spice? Cut back or completely leave out the crushed red peppers. Want it to be vegetarian? Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Not a huge fan of garlic? Cut back on the cloves used! Although, every time someone on campus tells me I look like Bella Swan from Twilight I eat a clove a garlic.
3 Bean Soup
1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil
1 medium onion diced
1 lb mushrooms sliced
4 medium carrots cut into rounds
4 medium celery cut into rounds
1 can each: black beans, red kidney beans, canellini beans – drained and rinsed.
1 can petite diced tomatoes with their juices
1 box chicken stock
3-4 garlic cloves chopped
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm garlic infused olive oil. Once warmed add in the onions and allow to cook while chopping the carrots and celery. Once the onions are translucent add in the carrots and celery. While those are cooking rinse and slice the mushrooms. Add in the mushrooms and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked. Once everything is almost completely cooked turn off the burner and remove from heat.
2. In a large pot pour in chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add in the cooked vegetables. Add in the drained and rinsed beans. Add in seasonings, red peppers, lemon juice and zest. Stir to mix. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are fork tender. Adjust seasonings to fit your taste once done.