Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pantry "Soup of Many Beans & Things" and A Year of Soups--The Top 10 11 Soups from Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sunday's First Year

I loves me some soup and I loves me some beans. In fact I loves me some beans so much I have many, many beans and lentils in my pantry. I have canned beans but my favorites are my dried beans stored in canning jars and labeled with my label maker. (Someday I'll take pictures and show you--but that will require me straightening the rest of my pantry first). Beans are economical, good for you, fill you up and they taste good too. For this week's soup celebrating a full year of Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays, I wanted to make a simple mixed bean soup using an assortment from my pantry--something basic, where the beans and some of my dried lentils are the star players. So here is my Pantry "Soup of Many Beans & Things". It's flexible, adaptable to what you have on hand, and absolutely delicious.

Pantry "Soup of Many Beans & Things"
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 12 cups of soup)

about 2 cups mixed dried beans* 
about 3/4 cup mixed "things" (lentils and peas)* 
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 smoked ham hocks or shanks
2 quarts good chicken or veggie stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse bean mix and soak overnight, rinsing again and discarding water before cooking. Rinse lentil mix and set aside. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and add onions. Cook until softened and slightly opaque, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute or two. Add ham hocks, stock, bay leaves and parsley and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer covered, about 30 minutes. Add beans and lentils, bring soup back to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add carrots and celery, bring soup back to a boil, then lower temperature, cover and simmer again for 30 minutes. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Chop tomatoes into large pieces and add to simmering soup. Remove meat from bones, chop into small pieces and add to soup. Heat through, taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve and enjoy!

*My beans & "things" mix included equal amounts of Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Navy Beans, Baby Limas, Cranberry/Borlotti Beans, Chick Peas, Black-eyed Peas, Green Split Peas, Yellow Split Peas, Green Lentils, Red Lentils and Black Lentils. 

Notes/Results: Hearty and delicious--exactly what I wanted. The homemade chicken stock and ham hocks made a rich and flavorful broth, that didn't need a lot of other spices, just some bay leaves and parsley. (However if you want to make a vegetarian version, use a good vegetable stock and some dried rosemary, thyme or other dried herbs to jazz it up a bit). I love mixed bean soups because of the variety of textures you get in each bite. You can mix it up with whatever beans you have on hand or if you need a quick version, used canned beans. Of course dried beans are cheaper and you don't have to worry about extra sodium, and canned beans can't quite compete with the flavor and creamy texture of well-cooked dried beans; so if you have the time--use the dried! A great soup that I will make variations of again and again. 

The Top Ten Eleven Best Soups of Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sunday's First Year

I started Souper Sundays in order to work my way through all the soup recipes I was tabbing in books and cutting out of magazines and I started inviting others to submit their soups too. About 6 months ago, we added salads and sandwiches for those not craving soups in the warmer months. In honor of a year of delicious recipes, I decided to pick my "Top 10" favorite soups that I have made since Souper Sundays started. Although I have prepared many wonderful soup recipes over the past 12 months, I chose the soups that I loved the most, wanted more of, or really thought about and craved afterward. Of course I ended up with 11 and just couldn't decide on one to cut, so it is now a "Top Eleven" list. (It is not numbered, as it is too hard to decide the order of favorites, so these are in no particular order).   

  • A soup from the early days of Souper Sundays and still a favorite is this Mulligatawny Soup from The Daily Soup Cookbook. A creamy-dreamy rich blend of spices, this was a delicious soup that I still dream about today and would want to eat all the time if it were not for that darn fattening cream.

  • All my favorite Thai ingredients in one tasty bowl of goodness, I created this Thai-Flavored Corn & Potato Chowder with Crab to make the most of some fresh sweet corn. Made with light coconut milk, it is a chowder that is filling without being heavy and it is oh-so-good.

  • The three ingredients for a Foodie Blogroll's Royal Foodie Joust last spring were asparagus, lemongrass and almonds so I made a soup with all three ingredients layered in, this Asparagus-Lemongrass Bisque with Herb Pesto and Spiced Almonds. It was delicious, the flavors all worked together and it looked pretty too. (Even if it didn't win the joust!)

  • I made several cold soups over the summer and my favorite hands down, was this Cold & Creamy Cordoban Gazpacho from Gourmet Magazine's Recipe Archive. Made with fresh tomatoes and thickened with bread and almonds, then topped with strips of Serrano ham and chopped hard-boiled egg, it is delicious and perfect for a hot evening.

  • A lunch at the Olive Garden Restaurant with my Mom, sister and niece, left me craving a better-for-me version of one of their classic soups so I made this Healthier Zuppa Toscana. With spicy organic chicken sausage and thickened with blended potatoes, it shaved off lots of fat and calories but was delicious and very "crave-worthy."

  • My Moosewood cookbooks are a favorite part of my cookbook collection and this Spanish Potato Garlic Soup from their Moosewood Restaurants Low-Fat Favorites is a simple and delicious soup. Potatoes, onion, tomatoes, paprika and thyme are simmered in a garlic-miso broth and these basic ingredients make for a complex and flavorful soup.

  • Delicious and made with love by my Mom, how could I not crave her wonderful Chicken Barley Soup? Full of chopped chicken and healthy veggies and grains, it is hearty and good for the body as well as the soul. A love of soup runs in the family and my Mom is an excellent soup-maker. 

So these are this year's top soups that I made. Of course we have had many incredible soups and salads and sandwiches too that all the friends of Souper Sundays made and submitted over the past 12 months, but I couldn't narrow down favorites from all the wonderful recipes that came in. I am looking forward to another year full of delicious bowls of soupy goodness, and terrific sandwiches and salads too. 

Now let's see who joins us in the kitchen this week:

First up, Souper Sundays would not be the same without my friend Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, who has joined me every week since I announced I was starting it. Over the year she has shared a ton of soups and lots of salads and sammies too. Mahalo Natashya for your loyalty and friendship! Natashya has a homey Turkey Vegetable Dill Pie with Chive Biscuit Crust this week. She says, "A delicious turkey stew, very traditional in flavours, topped with a biscuit crust that is crisp on the top and almost dumpling-like where it meets the stew. I found the amount of biscuits almost too much in relation to the stew, but hubby quite liked it. A great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers."

A turn in the weather has Debby from A Feast for the Eyes busy making lots of soups and stews and she has two hearty dishes to share this week. From her family Oktoberfest, she made an Austrian Goulash. Debby says, "This is a dish that I have never seen in a German restaurant in the United States. It's a dish that is very common in Southern Germany and Austria. Think of this as a beef stew, with a rich tomato sauce that is seasoned with paprika and some caraway seeds."

She also made a Classic Beef Stew, saying, "This afternoon, I decided to use some extra stew-cut beef chuck to make my fool-proof beef stew. I know, I know-- beef stew recipes are everywhere. Seriously, this is one of the best recipes I've ever eaten. It also comes together pretty fast. I've been known to make this in a pressure cooker, in less than 30 minutes. Today, though, I'm on vacation so I used my Dutch Oven and let it simmer on low for about 2 hours."

Chaya from Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog is here with a healthful Ellie Krieger special, Tuscan Vegetable Soup. Chaya says, "I am not sure I see anything astonishing about this recipe, except the taste. The taste was out of this world. It was hard, for me to believe, I was eating vegetable soup, a mundane, nourishing food. I am so glad that I have Ellie Krieger’s first book. I want her second book. This is a meal, I anticipate making again and again."

Welcome to Sumana from With Coffee & Tea, making her first appearance at Souper Sundays. Sumana's blog specializes in "Indian food, mainly snacks that go with tea & coffee." She is sharing a classic Vegetable Soup with an Indian twist, full of good veggies and spices like garlic (lasan), ginger (adrak), and coriander leaves (dhania patta). Glad to have you with us this week Sumana!

Another new face this week is Lee Ann at Mangos Chili and Z, from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Lee Ann has an Island Stew to share that looks like it would be right at home in my kitchen in Hawaii. She says, "I have an arsenal of soup recipes. Some are extravaganzas to prepare, and others easy enough to prepare after work on a week night. This is one of those. I’ve had this recipe for years. I love the flavors and I don’t know how I ever lived without the combination of coconut milk, cilantro and lime." Welcome Lee Ann!

Kait from Pots and Plots has a very unique and intriguing dish this week, a Lapsang Souchong Chili made with the smoky tea. Kait says, "Some chilis are very straight forward with beef or turkey, beans, chili powder, cumin, sometimes tomatoes, sometimes not. Some chilis have ingredients that make you go hmmm. Coffee. Cocoa powder. Beer. Well this chili has tea. Well the end result was very interesting. I loved it. I’m really intrigued by all the layers of smokey flavor. My husband prefers more traditional chili. Eh, win some, lose some. If you’re looking for something different to try, this is it."

Some very hearty and delicious soups, stews and chili! Thanks to everyone who joined me in the Souper Sunday Kitchen this week, as well as a big Mahalo to everyone who has taken part in Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays over the past year. Whether you have dropped in with a dish or two, or have become a regular participant stopping in often, you are truly appreciated! Thank you also to the readers who come by and visit the SS posts too, as your positive comments really keep me going with fitting a Sunday recap into my schedule every week. 

If you want to join in and have a soup or soup-like dish, salad or sandwich to share, just click on the logo on the side bar to get all the details. 

Have a wonderful week! (BTW--you still have until midnight today to enter to win John Besh's "My New Orleans". Don't miss out! You can get the details on how to enter here).



  1. Congrats on 1 Year of SS!!! Such wonderful soups you chose...and a delicious looking roundup! Here's to many more years filled with Soup :D

  2. Congrats on 1 year! All the soups look great.

  3. Congratulations on one year of Souper Sundays. I have my post up (finally!). I really appreciate the top 11 list...I'm planning on giving them all a try at some point this year. Thanks again. Mister Linky is up for this week's Crock Pot Wednesday. There's a little giveaway going on.

  4. Deb, I'm so glad that you created Souper Sundays-- and that we can add stews, salads and sammies. There are so many great bloggers who submitted wonderful recipes. Your soup really caught my eye, because bean soup of any kind is always a winner in my kitchen.
    Thanks for posting my recipes, too!

  5. Congrats on your 1st year! Your Souper Sundays are a fave of mine! I love to see your creations and everyone else's as well. Your bean soup looks fantastic, and I love your rundown of your top soups of the year.

  6. wow one year thanks for doing this i love your ss posts great job Deb

  7. Congrats on a very successful first year. I bet you really made a dent in your soup recipes! I love all beans and your soup this week sounds yummy. I'm excited to see who wins the giveaway!

  8. looking forward to the next year of soups!! way to go!

  9. Thank you for creating this list, I'm looking forward to working my way through these recipes.

  10. One year of soups.....That is a lot of soup. That should keep any of us in good stead in the cold weather as well as the hot.

    Thanks for running this. It serves a really good purpose. It keeps me making soup. Thanks.

  11. What a great post! Full of inspiration and everything looks delicious.

    I've recently mastered the whole "dried bean" cooking system - I tried using the slow cooker but have discovered a much better way. And it's true, once you have the dried version the canned are just so-so.

  12. What a lovely recap and round-up! I remember all those soups, and am still looking forward to trying some out. Especially the mulligatawny - it calls to me. :)
    Such comforting submissions for today too, thick and rich and warming. Delish!

  13. Congratulations on the anniversary and also on such a great collection. I always enjoy seeing what you have done each week. Thanks for putting so much into it.

  14. Your "Soup of Many Beans & Things" looks like it's right up my alley...I love to grab a bag of lentils or beans from the pantry along with whatever veggies I've got on hand in the fridge and turn them into a hearty, healthy soup! And your "Asparagus-Lemongrass Bisque with Herb Pesto and Spiced Almonds" is such a lovely soup!

  15. Deb... There is nothing better than a 'one pot meal' and your selection of soups are all enticing. I can't wait to give them a try. Thanks...

  16. You've outdone yourself, Deb. This is an outstanding round-up. Happy Birthday/Anniversary. We all have better soups because you're here.


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