This soup was inspired by the dinner I didn't make and the meat choice of my other half. The dinner I *didn't* make was ham and bean soup. I bought a ham a couple weeks ago (before the holidays, duh, THAT was my mistake!), and never got around to boiling the bone and soaking the beans. So the night before last I said to Mr. Raz "What would you prefer for dinner tomorrow? Beef, pork, chicken or italian sausage?" He chose beef. It was due to be super cold, so I wanted to make a stew type of meal (and all I had in the freezer was 3 packs of stew meat and 1/2 of a london broil which isn't enough for all of us unless I slice it and mix in something else to stretch), but all I could think of is my old standby curry beef stew, which Mr. Raz really doesn't care for (but eats like a champ, love ya babe!). In order to not disappoint the chooser of the meat, I scoured the cabinets for ideas until I found the pack of dry beans I had bought with the intention of making ham and bean soup. I thought "What if I put bean soup and vegetable beef soup TOGETHER??" And that's where Beef and Bean Vegetable Soup was born.
I'm going to estimate for this because when I cook, I don't measure ... Feel free to adjust for your needs!
1 bag 16 bean mix (dry beans, mine were Goya brand I believe)
6 cups water
1lb small cubes of beef (or big, if you like big. I'm a fan of stretching the meat ... having 10 small pieces feels like more than 2 big pieces)
3 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef stock paste
2 large ribs celery, chopped
several handfuls baby cut carrots, rough chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp herbs de provence
1-2 tsp salt (add a little at first then add to taste toward the end of cooking process)
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or, you know, until you get tired of twisting the grinder!)
1) pick through beans to remove any uckies, then soak either over night in cold water OR cover with water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
2) While beans are soaking, chop veggies, sear meat, saute veggies until just softened.
3) To large pot, add beans, 6c water, ... oh hell, just add everything and stir. Simmer over med heat until it's done! Stir frequently and check bean tenderness often. Add more water if you need it (mine got a little thick), 1/2c at a time. Taste to see if the seasoning needs adjusting about an hour before serving.
This is a forgiving and flexible recipe. I was puttering around the house all day, so I cooked it on the stove. I started it around 2:30 probably and it was done by 5. An hour of the cooking process I had it on the lowest heat setting because I had to get the kids from school. If I wanted to make this on a day I was out of the house, I would soak the beans overnight and then toss everything in the crock pot on low all day. Serve with a nice crusty loaf.
The kids all had 2nds and so did we! There were no leftovers! That's crazy for something like beans.
I wish I had taken a picture too. It was so pretty with all the different colors. Next time I will. I'll make this time and time again during cold weather.
Let me know what you think if you make it!