Sunday, January 18, 2009

Crock Pot recipe #1!

So here it is...

My first crock pot recipe!!

My dad's famous bean soup! (well *he* thinks its famous)

It's the best soup for cold days and it's really cheap to make, plus it will feed you for days and is really great reheated.

I asked him how he makes his beans and he told me he starts off by soaking pinto beans for 12-24 hours. You can use any beans you want, or even a bean medley.

The next morning, get out your crock pot (my dad says thats the trick) but if you don't have a crock pot you can use a big pot on the stove, either way use low heat.

Into the crock pot add

8-12 oz Pinto beans, soaked, washed and drained
4 carrots, cut into inch long chunks
2-4 potatoes, cut into cubes
2 onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 stalks of celery, chopped
3 strips of bacon, cut into pieces* (or omit for a vegetarian friendly recipe)
1 can of stewed tomatoes (my dad says this cuts down on "bean farts", but I'm not sure if I believe him.)

Add some brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste and optionally, you can add some ketchup or a bay leaf, just remove the bay leaf before eating.

Give it all a good toss and stir in the pot, and then cover it with water, broth or stock. Vegetable stock can be used for more flavor.

Let it simmer in the crock pot or on the stove for a good 8-12 hours or until the beans are fork tender.**

And then eat the hell out of it.

Here I added a 1/2 chicken breast on the side for a little extra protein, but its great with corn bread, biscuits, crackers, or whatever you may fancy.

*By all means add or remove any of the above items, this is just what my dad uses. I've even used the left over ham bone from the Christmas Ham instead of the bacon, but if you do it that way, make sure you fish out the bones before you eat it.

**If you prefer your soups a little heartier, half way through the cooking process, remove a bit of the broth and put it into a bowl. Into this broth whisk in some flour, or corn starch and kinda make like a roux, which is just a fancy french word for thickener. Make sure it's smooth and free of lumps and then put it back into the pot. The flour or corn starch will cook and make the soup less brothy and more stewy.

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