When Sam spotted the bag of assorted beans at Puregold in Clark Field over a week ago, she got all excited. She showed it to me and, without reading the label, I told her to put the bag in the grocery cart. Who wouldn’t be excited? Just look at that… at least five different kinds of beans, chick peas, split peas and lentils. The mixture of colors is just great, beans are healthy and I really love beans.
After taking that photo above, I finally decided it was time to read the cooking instructions. Just to be on the safe side, you know? It’s basic to soak dried beans overnight to rehydrate them and to cook them in plenty of simmering water for at least an hour and a half. But there were peas and lentils mixed in with the beans so I wondered if they wouldn’t cook to a mash before the beans were done.
The instructions on the package read: “…separate the beans…” Huwaaaaatt?? That’s 400 grams of beans and peas… separate them? It’s not like I’m 20 years old with 20/20 vision. I weighed my options for a moment — throw everything into the trash can, cook them all together and risk overcooking the peas and lentils OR do as the instructions said. To make a long story short, there I was at 9.00 o’clock last night separating the beans from the peas and lentils so I could soak them in water overnight.
Half an hour or so later, the bloody job was done. You know, as I was laboring over the tedious task, I was already swearing I would never — ever — buy those packs of assorted beans again. But I would reconsider my vow less than 24 hours later. The chicken and beans soup that I cooked turned out wonderfully. I was so happy that I was entertaining thoughts of starting a chicken soup blog. But never mind. I don’t have the time and energy to spare for another blog. Readers can always type “chicken soup” in the Google search box on top of every page of Home Cooking Rocks!. But, before I get carried away with all this talk about the chicken and beans soup, let me tell you about another discovery at Puregold which I also used in cooking the soup.
I always add peppercorns to the water when I make broth. And that means black peppercorns, the only kind available in local supermarkets. You can just imagine my thrill when, soon after the discovery of the assorted beans, Sam saw this jar of peppercorn melange in the spices section of Puregold. Sam’s a gem, isn’t she? There was a time when she wanted to be a chef and I thought she would take over this blog in a few years. But I’m not destined to be the mother of a chef. The moment she was introduced to photography, all plans of going to culinary school were forgotten. Of course, we bought the peppercorn melange. I’m going to put half of the contents of the jar in a pepper mill and reserve the remaining half for making broth. Well, I haven’t gotten around the pepper mill part but I used a teaspoonful of the stuff for today’s chicken and beans soup. The recipe will be posted in a bit.