Friday, February 11, 2011

Slow Cooker Bean Soup

This preparation is perfect when you want to come home and have a hot, home-cooked, comforting meal waiting for you. It works with any dried bean. I used Lima.

There is much mythology surrounding the cooking of dried beans and after reading almost all of it and trying everything I've read, this is my conclusion; beans do not have to be soaked if you are going to cook them in a slow cooker for at least 6 hours on high. I don't salt them early (I'm chicken) but I cook them with all kinds of salty meats with no deleterious effects.

The aphorism about an acidic cooking medium however does appear to be true. The beans will stay hard/not cook. I rarely have to throw anything away but this one batch of chili...

Bean Soup in a Slow Cooker

1 pound dried beans (I used Lima)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried herbs of some kind (I used Italian seasoning)
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped up leftover pork (or ham or chicken or whatever)
salt and pepper

Put all ingredients in slow cooker with enough water that it won't cook dry. In my small Crock Pot I fill the water to 1 inch below the ledge where the lid sits. Cook for 6 or so hours on high. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 1/2 hour, reseason and serve. It will also hold well for up to 4 hours on your cooker's "warm" setting.


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