When did I become the kind of person who writes an eight page paper when five are required?  Probably because it’s a ‘report on your experience’ paper rather than a research or opinion paper, but still…I was shocked to look down and realize I was on the 8th page without the end in sight.  Editing was called for.  I turned it in.  I’m free.*  Fastest paper ever.

To get myself in the Advent spirit, I made soup today.  I’d made a resolution to cook with dry beans, because really, I’m home most days and have plenty of time to sit around while beans cook themselves.  No need to buy canned for convenience.  So I was checking out the bean section and spotted a bag of cranberry beans (thanks, Bob’s Red Mill) which the copy claims are “much sweeter and more delicate in taste than common pintos or kidney beans.”  Oh, those pintos!  So common!  Not likely the lordly cranberry bean!  I suppose since most beans don’t really fall into the “delicate” or “sweet” categories at all, the claim to be sweeter and more delicate is possible.

Anyway…I bought the beans and then decided to make the recipe for Cranberry Bean Stew** on the back.  Except I just realized that I didn’t really follow the recipe AT ALL.  I halved it, and then I went crazy.  Here it is, with my changes in parentheses:

  • 6 oz cranberry beans
  • 6 cups water (I used 6 cups for a 1/2 batch to make it brothy)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced (the celery stalks at midnight!)
  • 3 oz frozen or fresh cranberries (completely omitted, but I did throw in a sliced carrot)
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (I used decent sized Russets for a 1/2 recipe)
  • 1 cup half and half (duh, it’s a fast.  Left this out and threw in a veggie bouillon)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (omitted, tossed in some assorted dried herbs)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed (two cloves, oh yeah)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp pepper

Bring water to a boil in a deep pan. Add beans, onion, celery stalks, cranberries, potatoes, parsley, bay leaf, garlic, salt and black pepper. (I sauteed the onion & celery & garlic in a little olive oil before throwing them to the wolves, I mean beans) Boil rapidly for 15 minutes until brothy. Remove froth with a spoon and discard (there was no real froth, so I didn’t bother). Reduce heat, add half and half (omitted) and simmer for 1 1/2 hours (I copied this from the online recipe, but my bag says 2 1/2 - which is what I did) or until smooth. Put in blender for a smoother soup (nope). Serve hot with whole grain bread (probably some sourdough toast).

I haven’t eaten a bowl yet, but the broth is tasty.  Even with the full-salt bouillon cube I tossed in a fair amount of sea salt, so watch out.

*Free as in ‘the assignments that are due this Sunday are done.’  Not at ALL free as in ‘caught up with readings’ or ‘done with the quarter’ or ‘ready to graduate.’

**Why does Bob’s Red Mill claim that you can search their recipes, when any keyword search results in a huge list of every recipe on their website?  You only find specific recipes if you narrow it down by category and ingredients.  Why have a keyword search if it doesn’t do anything useful?

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