Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cooking for the End of the World...AKA a million soup recipes...

I love books...especially reference books...
It's gotten so bad I actually have to limit my exposure to
I could literally spend a small country's national debt on that site alone!!!

One of these books from Amazon was all about storing food for emergency purposes.

A large part of this book was about reconstituting dried foods for cooking.
I was intrigued.  We do store a lot of food, but drying isn't one of the ways we usually do it.
(It's one of my resolutions for become more comfortable with drying food)
Mostly we just freeze or jar our food.  In the fall, I aim to make a bunch of soup when the fall veggies are ripe and freeze them in Becel containers.

We have bags of dried beans, but I prefer to work with canned.
The big problem I have with canned beans is that they are packed in salt or preservatives.

So I decided to try reconstituting for the first time!

I soaked 4 cups of mixed beans over night....kind of anti-climactic...

Those above are the beans after I had soaked and rinsed them.

I looked up several recipes online in places like seaching under the tag "mixed bean soups".

I found LOADS of recipes to choose from...but many of them called for a pork shank.
I didn't want to rely on having a shank laying around...that and the beans themselves are full of proteins already....why add more?
I found a few recipes that didn't call for a pork shank...just to mix thing up a little.

I had both varieties of soup going at the same in a slow cooker and one of the stove in a pot.


2 cups beans 
4 cups water
1 chopped onion
1  1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt
Soak beans overnight - or - boil for one hour. See Soaking Dry Beans. Rinse beans. Add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender. Serve with chips, cheese, sour cream if desired.

1 1/2 c. Ten Bean Soup Mix
4 c. water
2 (10 oz.) cans chicken broth
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. smoked sausage, thinly sliced (i used mild italian spiced turkey sausages)
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 (14 oz.) can tomatoes, chopped
-Sort and wash beans, place in large Dutch oven and cover with water 2 inches above beans.
-Soak beans overnight.
-Drain beans, add 4 cups water, chicken broth, garlic and pepper.
-Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
-Add remaining ingredients and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Yield: 2 1/2 quarts.

Of the two bean recipes, the sausage one turned out to be more of a crowd pleaser.
You can't always see what everyone will like until you try it.

My only advise for that is don't make 16 servings of anything until you've tried a portion of the recipe to start.
It feels like a waste of ingredients and a lot of space in your freezer.


Here are some other recipes I made this fall for the freezer...
They are great to make ahead and hearty for the whole family.


Mean Green Broccoli Soup

1 large stalk of broccoli
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 sm onion chopped
2 tbsp sharp cheddar cubed
1/4 cup wild & brown rice cooked
6 cups chicken or veg broth
2 tbsp lemon juice
S & P to taste
pinch of hot pepper flakes for fun!

-cut broccoli stalks from tops, peel fibrous outer layer and chop coarsely.
-Cut off flowers and set aside
-In a pot, combine stalks, garlic, onions and broth.
-bring to a boil over high heat.
-reduce heat and boil gently for 10 mins, covered.
-add flowers, hot pepper flakes and cooked rice and simmer for 5 mins longer
-in a blender, puree a little at a time until smooth (or desired consistency) and return to pot
-stir in lemon juice, S & P (and milk if you like) and let simmer but not boil.
-dish out into bowls and add cubed cheddar just prior to serving

Another great recipe!
I got it from some grocery store handout for quick and easy lunches. 
 Make it while you have broccoli around...then freeze it for long term use. 
It works great for a winter warmer-upper!  Thick and healthy too! 
The heartiness comes from the rice instead of using heavy cream.


Chunky Chicken Vegetable Chowder

4 packets vegetable bouillon
3 cups water
1 cm onion
2 tbsp butter
1 cup each diced potato(stored from garden), carrot(stored from garden), beans (frozen from garden), peas(frozen from garden), cooked chicken cubed
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup frozen corn (cut from cobs in the fall and frozen)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tsbp corn starch

-dissolve bouillon in water as per directions, set aside.
-in large pot, cook onion in butter until softened.
-add bouillon, vegetables, chicken, and basil, bring mixture to a boil
-cover and simmer on med heat 20 mins or until tender.
-add corn, and simmer 5 mins longer
-in a cup, stir corn starch into milk until smooth
-add to pot stirring slowly, bring pot back up to a boil. 
-boil 1 min to thicken
-add S & P to taste and serve with biscuits or bread

This recipe is great to freeze if you save the milk until you reheat it.
It "sticks to the ribs" as they say.  Great for after a day outside ice fishing or sledding.
I originally got it from a box of Bovril packets but have made it many times with many different veggies.

See below where we served it with fresh homade bread from the bread machine and also our homemade white wine from the concord grapes in our backyard!


A current favorite of mine is venison Guiness stew.
It is very hearty and full of vitamins and a lean source of meat.

Venison Guinness Stew

1 cup of carrots peeled & chopped
1 sm onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves pressed
1 sm potato chopped & peeled
1 cup beans & peas
4 cups of beef broth
4 cups of water
1 tsp steak spice
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp Guinness beer (or other dark lager)
S & P

-Brown Venison in a pan and set aside, discard juice.
-Fry in oil onions and potatoes in a pot until tender.
-Add carrots to pot and simmer for 5 mins.
-Simmer in beef broth and steak spice.
-Add meat, peas and beans.
-Add worchestershire sauce and beer.
-simmer all ingredients in a pot or slow cooker for 2 hrs.


A new favorite I found this fall is the spicy pumpkin soup!
This one is a variation on traditional soups made with squashes, 
but freezes really well!

Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic pressed
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin
5 cups of chicken broth or veg broth
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix.
(if you are going to freeze the soup, don't add the milk or heavy cream)
5 Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.
Serve in individual bowls.
Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds for a nutty aftertaste.

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