Monday, October 8, 2012

The Soup that Changed My Life

I don't know about you, but I love a good soup...and up until now, I have totally shyed away from any soup that isn't cream based, a la loaded potato or broccoli cheddar goodness.  When we were younger I remember going almost every Wednesday to Audubon Country Club in Louisville on Wednesday nights, before church, for their lima bean soup.  Of course it was not *my* personal favorite, and I'm not sure Sam was that big of a fan either, but our parents loved it so we went.  This, I might add, was my ONLY experience when it came to lima beans in general...I'm not a lover or a hater...I just didn't make it a habit of making and/or ordering them.

Until now.

I was inspired by my friend Darcy, the from-scratch-extraordinnaire, to start using DRIED BEANS.  Gasp.  You mean the ones *not* in a can??  Yes.  Ironically enough I had to go searching for them in the grocery because I really have NEVER made them...  So last time I was at Publix I picked up a few packages - plain 'ole lima beans, pinto beans, and great northern beans.  I figured between the three bags surely I could find something via pinterest that struck my fancy.

This ended up being the recipe I chose to begin my new quest...

Lima Bean Soup

I took one look at the ingredients list and thought "eh...there is no way this is going to be spectacular."  I mean where is all the FLAVOR?!  No sour cream...?  Again, I had really been on a potato soup kick before, so it was hard to look at this recipe and get excited.  I mean really.  Two tablespoons of oil, some vegetables, chicken stock, and LIMA BEANS???  Ewwww.  After carefully reading over all the reviews on the site (where the author credits the original, un-tweaked recipe), I decided what the hay...let's give it a spin.

Of course I had to tweak it a bit myself...why?  Because I'm lazy.  You see Publix (aka best grocery store in the world) carries all sorts of pre-chopped veggies in the produce section, over by the fresh herbs, and I live and die by these...using them in nearly half of all my recipes.  They have this trinity mix (traditionally green pepper, onion, and celery diced and mixed together) that includes carrots instead of green pepper and I thought BINGO.  So yes, I sold my soul for a $2 container of pre-chopped veggies.  Sue me.

Hardest part about the recipe is remembering to soak the beans overnight...if you can remember that, you're golden.  Otherwise you are just swirling in some olive oil, dumping in your veggies, sauteeing for a couple minutes, and then pouring an entire carton of chicken stock into the pot plus your soaked/rinsed beans.  Stir.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer on low for 3-4 hours.  Voila.

The recipe will tell you to simmer for 1.5 hours, but honestly, the beans will not be NEARLY the consistency where you'll like them.  Trust me on this one...3-4 hours.  It is worth the wait.  And because I am such a fan of creamy soups, I took my immersion blender to about half of this and blended away until I got the consistency that I like.

Before I leave you to go make your amazing lima bean soup, let me give you one final and very important tip: SALT AND PEPPER THAT BABY.  No, really.  Taste test this thing at least 6 different times to make sure you have seasoned it well enough.  This will make or break your soup...really any soup for that matter.

Thanks for listening to me rant about lima beans.

P.S.  It never hurts to have some cornbread laying around...

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