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A Souper Meal

written by Guest Blogger February 19, 2012

Oh, yes, here we are near the end of February and finally we’ve got a yummy bean soup recipe! Guest blogger and cookbook author, Bindu Grandhi, shares with us today two recipes: Chili Bean Soup and Vegetable Broth!

It’s been an unseasonably warm winter in New York, but I’m not complaining. Even though it hasn’t been bone-tingling chilly, I still savor a bowl of thick hearty soup during this time of year. And I don’t mean the kind out of a can but the kind you ate in Grandma’s house.

Whether you enjoy chicken noodle, black bean, lentil or tomato, the soups of winter’s repertoire energize us because they’re nutrient dense and can help with weight loss during a season where… let’s be honest most of us tend to put on a few pounds.

Cooking soup is easy and a satisfying meal by itself. The key is using fresh ingredients – vegetables, herbs, stock made from scratch, to give a delicious depth of flavor. By the way if you don’t have enough time to make homemade stock, many delis and butchers sell freshly made frozen stock that works great too.

Don’t be afraid to use salt, unlike canned and prepared soups which are known to be high in sodium, it’s an important ingredient and should be used in moderation. Soup is complete when topped with a traditional garnish like chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper or select a garnish that offers contrasting flavor or texture to both compliment and highlight the soup like croutons for a smooth soup or sour cream for a chunky soup.
Personally, I’m a big fan of bean soups because besides they’re delicious, low in fat and cholesterol, high in fiber, iron and folic acid. Not to mention extremely economical and eco-friendly source of protein.

My favorite soup is Chili Bean Soup, especially the way my mom makes it (see recipe below). It’s a hearty bean soup that uses red kidney beans which have a meaty texture and a sweetish flavor.

I remember after a long day at school, coming home to the aroma of this soup and devouring it, literally licking the bowl clean. Serve with whole wheat pita bread or a slice of crusty French bread and I hope you enjoy this hearty bowl of comfort in your own home and beat the winter blues!

Since I recommend fresh, use dried beans instead of canned. (But if you’re short on time, you can substitute canned, just rinse thoroughly to reduce the sodium levels.) Generally, one cup of dry beans yields 2 to 3 cups of cooked beans.

Here are some tips to prepare the dried kidney beans:

  1. Pick over the beans, removing pebbles, husks and other debris.
  2. Rinse beans in a colander under cold running water, discard any that float.
  3. Soak them in lukewarm water for 8 hours or overnight. (The quick-soak method is to cover the beans with 2 inches of water and boil in 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 1 hour. Drain.)
  4. Rinse thoroughly two or three times before cooking.
  5. Cook in fresh water – discard the soaking water because you get rid of the oligosaccharides (sugars our body can’t digest) that cause flatulence.
  6. Cook the beans in a large saucepan or pot, cover beans with fresh water (about 3 to 4 cups of water for every cup of beans). Partially cover pot, bring beans to a gentle boil, and then lower heat and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender. By the way I use a pressure cooker so the beans cook to tender perfection in half the time.

Chili Bean Soup

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. light olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans, pre-soaked and cooked or 1 16oz. can kidney beans
  • 1/8 tsp. chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (see recipe below)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • Garnish: 1 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a 3-quart nonstick saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and scallions. Saute for 4 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add the tomato puree, kidney beans, chili sauce, sugar, vegetable broth (see below for recipe), and salt, and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

Notes

Recipe from Indian Vegetarian Cooking From An American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad. Per Serving: 235 calories, 10g protein, 31g carbohydrates, 8g fat, 8.5g fiber.

Vegetable Broth

Nothing beats fresh broth. Below is a list of suggested ingredients, but you can add any other vegetables such as pea pods, zucchini, green pepper, and so on.

Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 celery stalk, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 fresh cilantro stems (can substitute parsley)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring the water to a boil and add all the ingredients. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, steep for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer and discard the vegetables, allow to cool. This broth can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 days or can be frozen for up to 1 month.

About the Author

Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavourful cooking, especially when it’s flexitarian. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.

Ooo… I’m going shopping on Tuesday to pick up these ingredients to try Vasantha’s recipe! If you try it, please come on back to this post and let us know what you think.

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1 comment

Pinky Balanced Healthy Diet Plan February 20, 2012 at 6:35 am

Great receipts thanks it looks spicy

Reply

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