Soup Season!

It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s windy. It’s the middle of the winter and we’ve just barely made it over the hump of solstice. Which means: It’s soup season! (I use the term soup very loosely here. Chowders and such are soups. End of story.)

I was puttering around the other day and wanted soup but alas, our freezers have run low on soup and our cupboards only had weird Campbells Chunky “Soup” (which is the only “soup” I do not call soup). But behold! The wonders of the cupboard revealed a 13 Bean Soup mix! Yay! All was right in my world: soup was on its way.

This specific 13 bean soup mix cam from Horning’s Inc. in Lykens, Pennsylvania. No doubt bought on a trip to visit my grandparents or sent by a relative. The 13 beans that it has are as follows: baby limas, blackeye beans, black turtle beans, great northern beans, large lima beans, red lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, light red kidney beans, small red beans, garbonzo beans, dried soybeans, and cranberry beans. I suppose for the recipe you could use any combination of those beans though? Just so long as you have the right amount.

Anyway! The recipe on the back (13 Bean & Smoked Sausage Chowder) looked awesome so I thought I’d give that a go.

Beans are so pretty don’t you think?

The night before I planned on making this I had to rinse and soak the beans in 6 cups of water. The recipe called for 2 cups of the bean mix but I had a little bit more than 2 cups (about 2.5) so I threw the rest in too and just added another cup of water. When cooking with dried beans you should always, always, always rinse them before soaking. Also check for bugs and stones. These had been processed already but I did a quick check anyway. For more information on cooking with dried beans click here.

The recipe called for a pound of smoked sausage but I could only find it in 13oz packages. If that happens to you – that’s okay. Just roll with it. If for some reason you’re like my house and have raw sausage, you could fry that up and use that instead. Just make sure you cook it before you put it in the soup. And use about a pound. I picked up chicken sausage because I don’t like pork and they were out of turkey but what kind of sausage you use is up to you.

Don’t forget the bread too! I prefer to make my bread from scratch but I didn’t have time. My brother was kind enough to bake up one of those Krusteaz Sourdough Bread Kits. It was actually pretty okay. For a boxed bread anyway.

If you don’t like beans, don’t have beans, don’t like sausage or chowder here are four other awesome soup recipes you could try out!

Kale and White Bean Stew (I’d’ve made this had I had kale!)
Beef Stew (needs a slow cooker!)
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup (I’ve not made this, but Joy cannot lead anyone astray and it looks fabulous.)
Knoephla Soup (a weird, but delicious, version of what my family calls pot pie.)

13 Bean & Smoked Sausage Chowder

2 cups 13 bean blend
1 qt water
2 tsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp low sodium chicken broth mix
4 cups diced potatoes
2 cups diced onions
1 1/2 cup celery (sliced with leaves)
1 cup diced red or green pepper
15 oz canned yellow corn
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp sage (I used coriander because I was out of sage.)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 qt whole milk
1 cup light cream
1 egg
3 Tbsp corn starch*
2 Tbsp Flour
1 lb Smoked Sausage (sliced 3/8″) [optional! If you don't want to have sausage that's totally okay!]

Rinse and soak beans in 6 cups water overnight and drain.

Simmer the first 5 ingredients together in a heavy kettle for 30 minutes. Add the next 5 ingredients and cook another 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Do not stir a lot. Add garlic salt, sage, black pepper and milk after this addition & do not let boil.

Blend light cream, egg, corn starch & flour together in a separate bowl and whip until smooth. Slowly add the cream mixture and heat gently to thicken. Add sausage and serve.

*If freezing use Therm Flo instead of corn starch.

Also, I thought the original spice levels were off and I used a lot so definitely do those by taste. If you’ve never used corn starch before: add it slowly, and whisk constantly so it doesn’t clump and then continue to stir while adding it to the soup. I used a huge pot and still barely had any room so you should be careful when picking your pot. And finally, test the beans before you add the milk because mine were not done at all and I ended up cooking them for an extra half hour or so. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments! It looks tricky but it was pretty easy!

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