When I was growing up I used to walk home from school every day. In the winter the chill would creep into my bones. Although it wasn’t snowing, the cold still seemed to cling to every inch of my body. I can still remember coming home after school to the scent of this soup.
For me, soup has this mystical power that can heat you up when you’re cold, heal you when you’re down with the flu, and most of all, it fills your belly with delicious warm comfort.
Now that I’ve moved to a summer rainfall climate, I still yearn for soup on rainy days. Although it’s hot and humid outside, the scent of rain makes me long for something hearty and liquid.
This recipe is a South African favorite, especially in my family. Every member has added their own touches, over the years, but this is the tried and tested recipe I’ve adapted over the years.
It always has my family (and guests) coming back for more. And the best part – you can freeze it! Imagine just popping it out of the freezer and into the microwave on those days you’re running out of time or simply don’t know what to cook.
Now you know – you defrost some bean soup.
Below, I’ve outlined it exactly as I make it. But with every soup (and every cook) I’ve noticed that people prefer different textures and ‘thickness’. So if this one is a little too thick or thin for your liking, just add more water or let it simmer longer so it can thicken up a little more.
If you plan on freezing it – you can freeze it as soon as it’s cooled down to room temperature.
I hope your loved ones enjoy it just as much as mine!
500g Dried Red Speckled Beans
2 onions finely diced
500g bacon strips (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1 L Chicken Stock
You will need the following:
Large bowl for soaking beans
Pressure Cooker (Alternatively use your large soup pot)
Large Soup Pot
Soak beans overnight in water – this softens them as they expand. If you’re planning on using a pressure cooker you can happily skip this step.
Cook beans for four hours on medium heat in 500ml of Chicken Stock. In your pressure cooker, 1 hour on high will get the same results. My pressure cooker only has settings of 30 minutes, so I usually run it twice.
Fry onions, bacon and garlic in a large pot on the stove top until nice and golden. Flavor with salt and pepper (I like a generous amount of pepper).
Add your beans and the rest of your chicken stock and let it simmer for two hours on medium heat.
I know that this sounds like such a lengthy process, but I guarantee you it’s worth every second.
Feel free to add any of the following to your bean soup to give the flavor even more depth.
- Smoked ribs
- Finely diced potato (2 will do for this recipe)
- 1 grated carrot
- Replace homemade chicken stock with chcken stock powder
Serve with fresh bread (it goes lovely with the Savory Bread Recipe you can find here), or toasted Ciabata slices.