My Own Personal Grey

Cookery: Bean Soup the long way

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So… Mr. Kat is concerned with food that is easy and nutritious and can be made in large amounts and kept by canning or freezing. Hey, we live on a boat and sometimes you need to have food that you don’t have to go to the store for. Not to mention: Zombie Apocalypse. So in the spirit of cooperation when he said “let’s try bean soup in the Crock Pot,” I thought “OK” and not “what you mean ‘we’ white man?” because you know who runs the galley aboard this tub, and it’s not the one with the beard.

So anyhow… I finally remembered to soak the beans and forgot how huge they get so we ended up with a lot of soup and a small quart Ziplock full of unused, soaked beans. And this is how the whole thing went, for those who want to snoop the recipe for what I’m calling Creole Bean Soup.

This recipe takes a couple of days, realistically, so I tried to start on Monday and just kept… not getting to it. But finally I did and it actually took… like… a long time. Like, really, almost 3 days because I can’t time things worth a poop.

What I used:
A big slow cooker: I have a large Crock Pot with a latching lid. This had just been used for homemade marinara and not-so-homemade meatballs on NYE, so it was still on the counter after being washed.

2 cups of dry beans: I used a 7-bean mix from the bulk section of my grocery store that included kidney, white, pinquitos, black, and black-eyed peas, as well as some small white beans and some I can’t identify but they taste yummy. I didn’t see any Pintos, though. I forgot how much beans expand or I would have used about half this amount since I still have a quart bag of soaked beans sitting in my fridge and no idea what I’m going to do with them before they get disgusting.
2 quarts of beef broth: I used the ready-made stuff that comes in a carton. I don’t like cans and I don’t know how to make beef broth from scratch yet. I could have used the Better Than Bullion paste but… that’s a lot of bullion….
1 medium yellow onion chopped. Just the usual sort of thing…. but I used the whole onion aside from the peel and ends.
2 stalks of celery, chopped
garlic Ummm… I think I used about 3 large table spoons of pre-crushed garlic. I used to prep garlic myself, but now I just buy the prepared kind in water from the store and keep it in my fridge. Truly fresh would be better, but… I’m lazy these days.
oregano yeah, the dry kind
marjoram still dry
cumin powedered, dry because… seeds? Really?
black pepper just a little fresh-ground on top before the cooking and more later at the end.
1.5 pounds of andouille sausage, sliced. I used the Chef Ardell’s type, but I would have used the Uli’s if I could have found some….
red pepper flakes because I’m a sucker for hot food.
salt and pepper to taste later….

What I did:
Soaked the mixed beans in a bowl with enough cool water to cover by at about 3 inches. Let them stand for at least 4 hours, then realized I had too many beans for one bowl and had to drain, rinse and divide them into two containers–living on a boat I now have fewer things than I used to and very few replications, so… only one large bowl. The rest went in the microwave rice cooker container…. Then I let them hang out in cool water some more. After about… 10 hours total I realized it was midnight and I probably didn’t want to start the cooking when I was about to go to bed, so I put both containers in the fridge overnight.

In the morning I walked the dog… and then forgot to start the cooking again. Went out for breakfast and run errands…. Then came back, rinsed all and dumped 2/3 of the beans into the Crock Pot and put the rest in a Ziplock bag and back in the fridge (y’know: “in case”). Poured in most of the stock, but not all because I had to leave room for the other stuff…. Turned the pot on “high.”

Chopped up the onion, washed and chopped up the celery, threw them in on top of the stock. They floated…. Are they supposed to do that…? Oh well. Whatever (yes, I’m from California and I do, in fact, say “whatever,” “dude,” and “gag me.”)

Added a large amount of garlic. Stirred. Added herbs–not a lot since I know dried herbs “expand” when cooked for a long period of time and the last thing I wanted was The Overwhelming Taste of Marjoram and Oregano on the Rampage. Covered the pot and let it come up to heat for about… 2 hours.

Played with dog.

Came back and stirred the pot. Tasted the broth. Beans still decidedly crunchy. Decided it would probably be fine if I just left it alone. Let it cook on high another 2 hours. Stirred, checked flavor, reduced heat to “low.”

Kept checking, but by 7:00 it was obvious the soup was not going to be eatable that night. Called out for pizza.

Turned off the pot and let cool enough to handle. Extracted the pottery liner from the pot, covered in cling film and put it in the fridge for the night.

Got up Thursday morning and walked the dog. Came home, got soup out of the fridge, removed cling film and put it back in Crock Pot… ran errands… came back and discovered I’d put the pot on “warm.” Just whose stupid idea was it to put “warm” to the right of “hot”? That guy needs to be kneed in the nuts. And I know it was a guy because no woman would arrange the knobs to go from Off to Low to High to… Warm. STOOOOOPID.

Turned the pot up to High, then realized I was feeling a bit squeamish about the temperature and what might be breeding in the soup at that temp. Pulled ceramic liner from pot and put in microwave for 15 minutes to kill anything that might be lurking–also make stuff nice and hot! Then I carefully returned the soup-filled ceramic liner to the Crock Pot heater thingy while wearing two oven mitts: one white and one red because I’m too cheap to buy two new ones that match.

Let it cook for two hours. It was now Four O’Clock on Thursday, so I sliced up the andouille and threw that in. Added just a bit more crushed red pepper and left it alone for another two hours–well, except for the occasional stir.

Mr. Kat arrived home a little after 6:00. I pointed out the soup. We ate it with heavy, fallen Italian cracked wheat and black pepper bread on the side. It was delicious. I made a pig of myself.

And we still put away 3 quarts of it.

Oink.

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