Hearty, Warming Soups

Beans and grains are easy to store and have on hand when you have time and are in the mood to cook. These recipes can fill the house with wonderful aromas and build an appetite and the pleasant anticipation of a rich, hearty meal. Beans and grains often work interchangeably. With these basic recipes, you might want to try your own innovations.

Thick Split Pea and Brown Rice Soup (serves 6; cooking time 1 hour)
1 T. butter or ghee
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. curry powder
2 cups split peas, picked over and washed
1 cup brown rice, washed and soaked over night
8 cups stock or water
3 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Heat the butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and saut the onion, carrot, and the garlic with the curry powder until the onion is tender.
  2. Add the split peas, rice, stock, and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour or until the peas are tender.
  4. Check and add more water from time to time if needed if soup becomes too thick.
  5. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.

Source: Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman

Thick Barley Soup (10 one-cup servings)
12 cups stock or water
1 cup barley, soaked overnight
2 cups mirepoix
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
Mirepoix: 2 parts onion to one part each diced carrots and celery. Saute in butter or ghee.

  1. Add water to a large pot and bring to boil.
  2. Lower flame and add barley, stir, and simmer 1 hour.
  3. Add mirepoix and simmer 30 minutes
  4. Add mushrooms, mix and simmer 5 minutes
  5. Adjust water if needed and add tamari or taste.

Source: Jackson Blackmon

Black Bean Soup (6 Servings)
pound dried black turtle beans, soaked
1 quart water
1 large onion
3 medium cloves garlic
1 T. e.v. olive oil
1 tomato
t. oregano
t. cumin
2 t. chili powder
1 bay leaf
2 T. mirin (sweet rice wine) or 1 T. dry sherry
1 T. brown rice vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
cup chopped whole scallions for garnish

  1. Drain the soaked beans and rinse. Place them in a 6-quart soup pot with the water. Bring to a boil, skimming the foam that rises to the surface until it almost ceases to form, then reduce heat, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.
  2. While the beans are cooking, chop the onion fine and mince the garlic. In a medium skillet, heat the oil and saut the onion and garlic over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  3. While onion and garlic are sauting, drop the tomato into the ban pot for 30 seconds; remove using a slotted spoon. Peel. Cut I half crosswise and squeeze out the seeds. Chop coarsely and add to the skillet, along with the oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the soup pot. Add the bay leaf. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour more.
  5. Add the mirin or sherry, vinegar, and salt and pepper and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. If you wish, puree 2-3 cups of soup in a blender or food processor to create a thicker, smoother texture.

Source: Annemarie Colbin, The Natural Gourmet