Spicy Bean soup

It’s not summer here in the bay area. It’s raining, cool and generally grey. As much as I want it to be summer with fresh grilled food, it’s just not. Given the weather we’ve been talking about cooking comfort food today. Initially we thought chili, but somehow I got it into my head I wanted a bean soup / stew.

I’ve not had a lot of success cooking beans, but I really love a good bean soup. We had to go to the store anyway, so during breakfast we talked about what we were going to make. It’s looking really good so I’m going to write down the process. The ingredients are mostly what we had in the house or picked up today from the store.

I did a quick soak on about a pound of 13 bean mix. Bring beans and water to a boil, boil for 1 minute then cover and let sit for an hour. Then I drained them and let them sit until the soup was ready for them.

After the beans were done, I chopped up some bacon we had in the fridge and set it to render over low heat. Then I pulled out the fresh whole foods chorizo (2 links) and the andouille (1 link) and de-skinned it. Once the bacon was crisp I pulled it out and added the sausage to the bacon fat. The bacon is currently waiting to garnish the finished soup (Ok, and it was a nice snack while I was cooking). As the sausage was cooking, I grabbed a handful of mushrooms out of the fridge and cubed them. I threw them into the sausage and left everything to cook.

In between bouts of beating the sausage with a spatual to make it correctly crumbly, I chopped up 2 onions and smashed 4 or 5 garlic cloves. Once the mushrooms were shrunk down and unrecognizable, I added the onions and garlic. Then I started to panic about the volume of food I was cooking and wonder if I had a big enough pot. I left the onions to cook down and soften while I pondered what to do.

The onions cooked down quite a bit and I decided that the world would not end if I didn’t use all of the soaked beans. I considered pulling out some of the meat and onion mix and using that as a base for hash. But I decided just to cut back on the beans instead.

While I was futzing with the amounts, I pulled out a bunch of stock from the freezer. I had 3 different batches of ham stock and a small bit of chicken stock. I set those in warm water to start defrosting. Then I finely diced 2 wax peppers and tossed them into the pot with the sausage and onion.

When everything was soft, I added in all the stock cubes and stirred them until they started to melt. Then I added in enough beans to bring the liquid level up to where it wouldn’t overflow the pot (which worked out to about 3/4 of the beans I soaked). I stirred and watched until everything came up to a simmer, threw in a couple bay leaves and some oregano.

The pot is on the stove simmering as I write. It looks really good. The soup has a lovely red tinge from the paprika in the chorizo. I’ll let the soup simmer for a few hours and then serve it garnished with the crispy bacon and probably some finely diced serrano peppers. We also have fresh rosemary and olive oil bread on the side.

It is not the right time of year for soup, and I’m stil a bit cranky about the weather. I am blaming MAAWG. It always rains for MAAWG in SF and, apparently, moving the meeting from February to June doesn’t change that.

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