My `Secret` to the Best Dried Bean Soup in Town

I struggled for years to make a great soup from dried beans.  I tried many tricks – soaking, not soaking, salting before then after, cooking them slow, cooking them long and I always struggled.

Most beans do not need soaking (though it can speed up their cooking time).  Simply bring dried beans to a strong boil with lots of liquid (I use a minimum of 3-4 times liquid to bean).  I generally use liberally salted water.  Leave at a boil for 10 minutes before lowering to a simmer and monitor their progress.  Most will complete cooking in 40-70 minutes.

Because of such a dramatic range of cooking, my secret to a great multi-bean soup is simple:

My `Secret` to the Best Dried Bean Soup in Town

Cooking each bean is useful for many reasons:

  • It ensures each type of bean reaches the level of cooking you wish
  • It prevents discoloration from darker beans leaking into lighter ones
  • Excess liquid from lighter beans can be used if you don`t have enough in darker beans
  • You could flavor different beans with different stocks.

My standard stock for bean soup include a large can of diced tomatoes (2-4 cups of home canned slices), including liquid, 1-2 liters of stock and a can of tomato paste. I generally add some home-dried onions, dried-celery salt, salt and pepper. While cooking the beans I bring this to a gentle simmer and turn it off to cool (too much cooking turns the tomatoes to indistinguishable mush).

It`s a no-fuss amazing soup and one that improves through the week.

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Comments

  1. Have you tried using a pressure cooker? That’s how I cook my dried beans, and it works really great. I always make more beans than I need and freeze what I don’t use right away. I’ve read that you can freeze them in their cooking liquid, but I freeze them drained.

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  1. [...] My secret to the best dried bean soup in town [...]

  2. [...] For any of our veggie friends, here’s our trick for a great mixed-bean soup. [...]

  3. [...] We’ve experimented and shared a lot of things here in the last 3+ years.  There’s more than 1,200 posts to scan through on all sorts of topics.  We’ve shared killer tricks on how to perfectly poach eggs for large groups, how to roast different colors of beets without their colors running into each other and my secret for the best dried bean soup in town. [...]

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