Wednesday, January 7, 2009

RECIPE: Bean and Pasta Soup

I've been making this Bean and Pasta Soup Mix as Christmas gifts for probably close to 15 years, and yet I'm not sure that I've ever made it for myself-- I always gave it away.

So last batch I made, I kept one for myself. Last night I soaked the beans, this morning I drained them, put everything in a slow cooker and let it cook all day while I was at work. How nice to come home to the smell of dinner cooking!

This recipe makes six gifts consisting of 3 bags each. Each gift makes a batch of soup that serves about 9 people.

Bean and Pasta Soup Mix

3/4 cup dried onion flakes
2 (1/2-oz) jars dried celery flakes
1/2 cup dried parsley flakes
3 tbs dried basil
3 tbs dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 (2 1/4 oz) jars beef bouillon granules
1 each (16 oz) package dried black-eyed peas, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and small shell pasta

Combine the first 7 ingredients (through ground pepper); divide evenly and place in 6 airtight plastic bags. Add 2 tbs plus 1/4 tsp bouillon to each package. Label "Herb Mix" and seal.

Combine peas and beans; divide evenly in 6 bags. Label "Bean Mix" and seal.

Place 1/3 cup pasta in 6 bags. Label.

Directions for gift recipe card:

Sort and wash bean mix; place in Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above beans; soak 8 hours.
Soaking beans

Drain beans.

Combine beans. 3 quarts of water, herb mix, 1 carrot, chopped, and 2/3 cup chopped cooked ham in Dutch oven. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 2 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.


In the crock

Add 1 (14.5 oz) can Mexican-style tomatoes, undrained, and pasta. Cook 20 minutes more.
Tomatoes and pasta

This makes a very hearty soup, and of course there is room for personalizing it with some of your own ingredients. It's a good healthy meal on a cold and dreary day.