Recipe: Western Bean Soup Romano

Title: Western Bean Soup Romano
Categories: Soups, Vegetables
Servings: 8

1/2 lb Mixed white and colored
-beans
1 Clove garlic, minced
1/2 c Chopped onion
1 tb Olive oil
2 qt Beef broth or stock
1 ts Oregano, crushed
1 cn (8 oz) tomatoes, crushed
2/3 c Julienne-cut carrots
1/2 c Julienne-cut celery
1 2/3 c Bite-sized pieces of
-spinach, loosely packed
1/2 c Small cooked shell pasta
Salt
1/2 c Grated Romano cheese

Sort, rinse and soak beans by preferred method (described below). To
maintain color integrity, soak white and colored beans separately. Saute
garlic and onion in oil. Add drained beans, broth and oregano. Simmer,
covered until beans are tender. Add tomatoes, carrots and celery. Simmer
for 15 minutes longer. Stir in spinach and pasta; adjust seasoning with
salt. Simmer for 5 minutes or only until thoroughly heated.

Makes 8 servings; about 2 quarts.

A BAG OF BEAN TRICKS:

A bag of bean tricks to help you buy, soak, cook & store dry beans.

Canned beans do not require additional cooking since they have been
thoroughly cooked in the canning process, but there are several ways of
preparing dry beans for cooking. All start with a thorough inspection for
damaged beans and foreign material, then washing in cold water. The next
step, which is highly recommended, is soaking the beans. This not only
helps make the beans cook faster, it also improves flavor, texture,
appearance and digestibility. For maximum improvement of these factors, it
is recommended that the soak water be discarded and the beans rinsed and
cooked in fresh water.

SOAKING TIPS: Hot-soak (preferred) and Quick-soak method.

For every pound of dry beans, any variety, add 10 cups of hot water.
Remember beans will rehydrated to at least twice theri dry size, so be sure
to start with a large enough pot. (Note: up to 2 teaspoons of salt per
pound of beans *may* be added to help the beans absorb water more evenly.)
Heat to boiling, let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and
set aside for at least 1 hour (quick-soak method), but *preferably* four
hours or more. The longer soaking time is recommended to allow a greater
amount of the gas-causing properties to dissolve in the water, thus helping
the beans to be more easily digested and lessening the aftereffects.
Whether you soak the beans for an hour or several hours, remember to
DISCARD THE SOAK WATER.

COOKING TIPS: (for each pound of dry beans)

Standard method: Drain and rinse soaked beans; put into a good- sized
kettle. Add 6 cup of hot water, 1 to 2 Tablespoons shortening and 2
teaspoons salt. Boil gently with lid tilted until desired tenderness is
reached.

Savory Method: Use standard method (above), but use 2 teaspoons onion salt
and 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt instead of plain salt. Add 1 Tablespoon
chicken stock base or 3 to 4 bouillon cubes and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper.

* Simmer beans slowly. Cooking too fast can break skins.

* Acid slows down cooking. Add tomatoes, vinegar, etc. last.

* Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (no more) per pound of beans whe
cooking in hard water to shorten cooking time.

* At high altitudes, beans take longer to cook. A pressure cooker helps,
but follow manufacturer's directions. [Personal note: Tom says 1/2 hour
in the pressure cooker at 15 lbs pressure is equivalent to cooking them
overnight. Don't put too many beans in the pressure cooker, as they
expand: you don't want to plug up the vent hole.)

* Refried beans are made from freshly cooked pinto, pink, red or kidney
beans, mashed and cooked in a skillet with bacon drippings, lard, oil,
butter or margarine.

[ California Dry Bean Advisory Board ]

Posted by Shelley Rodgers. Courtesy of Fred Peters.



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