I pulled out a recipe that I used often in Togo…bean soup 😉 Not very exciting, huh? But I’ve made it so many times as dried beans were something we could easily buy in Togo, that I decided it was worth another meal in America. You really can’t beat the price of dried beans! I’ve also tried cooking them in multiple ways and have eaten semi-hard beans more times than I can count (if you don’t believe me you can ask my husband…it’s our inside joke!). My technique now is to measure out a cup of beans and pour them into a large cup. I then fill the cup with water and leave them overnight. The next afternoon, I drain the water and transfer the beans to a pot. I add more water or chicken broth and turn it on to boil. When it boils, I turn the heat off and cover the beans with a lid. I leave the pot for an hour. I then start cooking them on low for about another hour. I keep adding water while they cook to make sure they are covered at all times. It takes awhile and often I think I should have used canned beans. But then again, the price. So I decide a little time is worth the effort. I add various things to the pot…everything from garlic, to chopped onion, to chopped celery, to spinach, to diced tomatoes. I find tomato paste added near the end of the cooking gives the broth a nice flavor. And add whatever spices you like…I find the more the merrier!
So we had beans…but I needed something to go with them. When I was in Boston visiting my parents-in-law before coming to North Carolina, we went shopping at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few fun staples. There is a Trader Joe’s in NC but not near me. I love TJs and loved shopping there when I lived in Boston (before going to Togo). I found a great mix for beer bread…something I had never heard of before. I decided to give it a try. And decided it would make a great accompaniment for the soup.
I mixed the package with…you guessed it! Beer!
I had a local organic beer in the fridge made by Highland Brewing Company in Asheville. Perfect!
I added it to the mix…
Stirred it gently…it was thick but the box said not to over-stir!
And poured it into the pan (well..more like “plopped!”) and topped it with melted butter.
It baked for 45 minutes and came out like this…
It turned out really well! Super yummy. I’m sure different beers would give it different tastes…and the box says you can use any carbonated beverage. What do you think would taste good?
But it worked perfectly with our soup…and a side of Tabasco!