1 lb mixed dried beans*
4 cups chicken or ham stock
3 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, cut into coins
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoon ground lemon peel
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
*Look for these with the rest of the beans. I normally get 15 bean mix but I've seen 10 and 12 bean mixes as well. Here they are pre-soak to give you an idea what the mix includes:
The night before you want to eat the soup, place the beans in a 4 quart slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker insert with water, covering the beans by at least 2 inches. I normally fill the insert nearly to the top. Cover and allow the beans to soak overnight.
The next morning, drain the beans and return them to the pot, discarding the water.
Extra credit: sauté the vegetables in a bit of bacon fat or oil until the onions are translucent and the carrots are bright.
Add the vegetables, spices and stock. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir and serve.
Note: Since this soup cooks for a long time (I've had it at the 12 hr mark and it was just as tasty) I like to prep the vegetables and bacon the night before so I can get them in the slow cooker as early as possible in the morning. I let them cool then refrigerate them overnight.
My thoughts:I'm sad for summer to actually be over. I know for many summer "ends" at Labor Day but I keep on being summery as long as possible. While I enjoy many fall foods, they do remind me that soon it will be winter again, the most boring food time of the year. This recipe is perfect for a crisp fall day and even though it doesn't have too much in the way of seasonal fall ingredients, it tastes autumnal. It is also a great recipe for days when you don't quite feel like going to the store. All of the ingredients are ones I have in my cabinet or refrigerator at all time and I bet they are in your house right now too. Unless you are a vegetarian**. I love those kinds of meals because there are just days when I can't get to the store but don't want to rely on the paltry variety of takeout in my neighborhood. I had it for dinner and then lunch the next day topped with a fried egg. I think it is even better the next day but some times it thickens up a bit. I don't mind it but if it happens to you, you can thin it out with a bit of stock or even water while you reheat it.
As an aside, my husband took some to work and heated it up in this lunch warmer we picked up recently. We were slightly skeptical of it but it works great for heating up lunches like this that do not microwave well when you do not have access to a a stove. He just puts the stuff in the insert in the morning, plugs it in when he gets to work and the soup (or whatever) is warm by lunch time. One neat thing is that you can't smell the food while it is heating up so your office doesn't smell like soup all day.
FYI: This soup freezes well for future meals.
**You can make a vegetarian version of this soup pretty easily. Just leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock.