Real Food: Beef and Bean Soup
A few days ago, we had a cold snap. Any time it gets cold, I love to make soups, stews, and baked goods. There’s just something about having the smell of something cooking in your home, with the residual heat coming off of the stove, that just warms me from the outside right down to my soul. This time I opted for a classic in our family, beans. Everyone remembers growing up on beans. They were cheap and easy to make. However, I wanted to amp them up a little. I wanted them to taste good and familiar, but also have a little nutritional punch and be filling! Last time we ate beans, my husband didn’t really eat much, but this time he ate two bowls! And my precious B, who has been refusing almost all foods, ate two servings of his own! I was one proud mama!
So what made it so good? Maybe it’s that I used all ingredients from scratch, chopped and washed and seasoned with love… Perhaps it’s that it was slow cooked for several hours… Or maybe it’s the combination of those two things and the time of year. I don’t know, but it sure did the trick.
So if you’re looking for a warm meal that will taste like your grandma just teleported into your kitchen, a meal that is so smooth and simple, yet exciting and new, with every flavor melded seamlessly together, then this is the recipe for you.
Did I mention that it’s EASY!?
Yep. It’s so easy that you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it before.
Let’s start with the ingredients:
I took one chopped bell pepper, about 3 chopped mushrooms, some roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, about 2 strips of maple smoked bacon, some lovely ground beef, butter, seasonings, and my secret weapon (thanks to my husbands beast friend) a spoonful of pace picante sauce.
I also had 1/2 of a chopped onion in a bag in my freezer. I like to keep onions chopped and ready for cooking, especially because I can buy in bulk, chop, and freeze!
And then the most important ingredient! One pound of sorted and washed pinto beans! (Strained of course)
I melt the butter in the saucepan and toss in the vegetables, stirring until they are soft, and then I add the bacon. After a minute or two, I pour in the beans, stirring to get them all mixed in. I pour in 2 cups of beef broth and 2 cups of water. Next I add the ground beef and seasonings.
After I have stirred everything and I’m sure it’s all seasoned, I pop the lid on that pot and leave it alone! Only returning to stir on occasion and top it off with some water. After a few hours your house will smell amazing and you are ready to eat!
As a note, if you want a thicker recipe, just don’t add as much water when topping it off. The beans will absorb most of it and some will escape through steam. However, this recipe is already fairly thick. So if you wish it to be a more liquid soup, then add more water. It’s that easy!
One pound dry pinto beans (sorted and rinsed)
One pound of lean ground beef
One green bell pepper, chopped
About 3 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tbsp roasted garlic, minced
1/2 sun dried tomato, chopped fine
1 spoonful Pace picante sauce (optional)
2-3 strips maple bacon, chopped into small pieces
3-4 tbsp butter
2 C beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp basil
2 tsp paprika
In large pot, melt butter with roasted garlic over med high heat. Toss in chopped vegetables and cook until slightly soft. Add in the bacon and cook that just until the edges start to curl. Pour in the beans and stir until all ingredients are mixed well. Pour in 2 C beef broth and 2 C water. Allow it to warm up but not come to a boil yet. Once it’s warm, add the ground beef, chopping into manageable sizes and stirring in. Stir in seasonings. Bring the mix to a low boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to med low. Cover and allow to cook for a minimal of 3 hours but up 5. Stirring occasionally to ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom. You may need to add some more water occasionally to keep the water level above the beans. Salt to taste and serve hot with bread.
Makes approximately 6 servings.