"Spicy" Three Bean Soup*

November 16th, 2007 10:24 am by Kelly Garbato

Growing up in New York and all, summer has always been my favorite season: winter? too cold and icy; spring? cold and rainy; fall? wtf, that’s back to school time. Summer? Just right – especially since it never got much about 90 degrees, and even that was a rarity.

Now that I’m a Midwest transplant, though, I’m starting to warm up to the fall and winter months. Winter here is like fall in the Northeast. Doubly so with teh global warming. Plus, the hot-hot-hot veggie soup recipes don’t hurt, either.

I made my first hot soup of the season last night. “Spicy” Three Bean Soup* – your featherhead’s favorite! I finally remembered to take a few pics – been meaning to for years – so I decided to blog the recipe, too.

An added bonus: it makes a great Save-a-Turkey Day meal. There isn’t much work involved (especially in comparison to a “roast”, be it a Tofurky or a bird corpse), so you can spend more of the day, you know, celebrating. Shane and I went this route two t-days ago, and got to watch Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2 – straight through. Now that’s what I call a sacred holiday ritual!

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Enjoy, veg*ns! (Offer valid for you meat-n-potatoes types, too.)

First up, the recipe as I found, saved and printed it (though I can’t recall where…AllRecipes, perhaps?):

Spicy Three Bean Soup

Broth & Spices
1/4 cup olive oil
15 ounces of tomato-vegetable juice cocktail (e.g., V8 Juice)
1 cup red wine
4 cups water
2 cubes vegetable bouillon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

Veggies
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 large potatoes, cubed
2 (16 oz) cans of great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15.25 oz) cans of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained

Original cooking instructions

1) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Place onion and garlic in the saucepan and slowly cook and stir until tender and browned.

2) Place the great northern beans, red kidney beans, black beans, celery, carrots, potatoes, tomato-vegetable juice cocktail, brown sugar, thyme, water and vegetable bouillon in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat approximately 25 minutes. As the mixture thickens, stir in the red wine.

How I roll

Even when I try my bestest to follow the instructions, I’m a highly improvisational cooker. Probably why I prefer cooking for my doggies – they eat feces, so they aren’t exactly the fussiest of eaters. Toss in the fact that I’m picky with the veggies, and I tend to make double or even triple batches of stuff, and I usually do some serious tweaking with the standard recipe. (Not so with baking…cookies are easy enough to screw up without tempting the Great Dog above.)

Though the cooking time on this recipe is under an hour, I prefer slow cooking it throughout the day. Yesterday, I got it going around noon and the Mr. and I didn’t sit down to dinner until almost 7PM. Because of the extended simmer time, I pretty much skipped step #1 above.

Instead, I started by combining all the liquids and spices together, and then adjusting to taste before adding the veggies (the large chunks make it harder to accurately gauge whether the vegetable bouillon cubes have dissolved).

I made a triple batch, so I used…

1/2 cup olive oil
64 ounces of tomato-vegetable juice cocktail (e.g., V8 Juice)
12 cups water
6 cubes vegetable bouillon
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme (ground and/or leaves)
5 tablespoons minced garlic

I had to cut out the red wine, since there was none to be found in the house. Also, instead of tripling the olive oil, I just doubled it – the only way you can muck up this recipe is by using so much oil that your soup ends up looking like an oil slick. To compensate for the lost liquid, I dumped the whole 64 fl.oz. bottle of veggie juice in the pot. Better that than let the leftover juice go moldy in the fridge (*cough*Shane*cough*).

After the liquids in went the spices – the bouillon, brown sugar, thyme, and minced garlic (along with a judicious amount of garlic juice from the Sam’s Club-sized jug I keep on hand…hey, you can never have too much garlic, am I right?).

Once this was all mixed up and heated, and the bouillon, dissolved into tomato-y goodness, I kept adding additional thyme, as well as onion and garlic powder, until I got the taste I was after.

Next, onward to the veggies!

I used…

4 cups chopped carrots
1 can of black beans
1 can of light red kidney beans
2 cans of dark red kidney beans
2 cans green beans
2 cups pasta shells

The original recipe produces a seriously chunky soup. I wanted a bit more broth this time, so I went easy on the veggies. I didn’t have any potatoes; don’t like onion chunks or celery; and was plumb outta great northern beans, so out those went.

Instead, I started out by finishing off the bag of baby carrots I had in the fridge; these went in first, since they were fresh and required the longest cooking time. An hour later, I came back and added the black, light red kidney, and dark red kidney beans. An hour or so after that, in went the green beans, too. At this point, the soup looked plenty chunky, so I decided against tossing more beans into the already-yummy pot. Instead, I just set the heat to simmer (as opposed to the low temp it had been on) and let it sit until Shane got home – at which point I added the pasta shells, cranked the heat up (but just a bit!), and waited five minutes for the mac to soften up.

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Pop some breadsticks in the oven to crisp up, and – voilà! – dinner served!

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You likey?**

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We sure did.

With enough leftovers to last clear through Tofurky Day!

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As you can see, the base recipe is pretty adaptable – just use the basic ingredients list to create a broth you like, and then add whatever veggies catchyer fancy. Or kill two birds with one stone*** do double duty and clean out your fridge while you create the newest culinary masterpiece.

And do be sure to leave your version in the comments for all to enjoy!

* “Spicy” with scare quotes because, even when cooked as intended, this soup is far from spicy. And this comes from someone with the uber-sensitive taste buds of an Englishman.

** It goes without saying, but…ignore the gawd-awful yellow ’70s laminate countertops…for the love of DOG!

*** Sweet Jebus I hate that phrase.

(Crossposted.)

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5 Responses to “"Spicy" Three Bean Soup*”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » VeganMoFo, Day 26: Silk Sightings! Says:

    [...] Maybe later this week I’ll make some Spicy Three Bean Soup. [...]

  2. Pizza Soup! (Take 1) » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    [...] that my head near e’sploded. Instead, I used my favorite, tried and true soup recipe – “Spicy” Three Bean Soup – as a jumping-off point (mainly for the base), incorporating some elements from the baked [...]

  3. jayedee aka ntiveheart Says:

    we don’t get much soup weather here in florida….so not many chances to try out new recipes. i love finding a tried and true, especially one with ‘wiggle room’. can’t wait to try this one! thank you for sharing!

  4. “Spicy” Three Bean Soup,* Redux » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    [...] Friday, I cooked up a massive, steaming pot of my all-time favorite soup – “Spicy” Three Bean Soup* – letting it simmer and marinate throughout the day, checking in occasionally during the [...]

  5. Bonsai Bouillon & Cubed Chicken » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    [...] now. Vegetable bouillon works just as well as the cruelty-laden ones, particularly with hearty soups. So, like, [...]

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