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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 9, 2011, 5:28 P.M.

Is it soup yet?


On Sunday, I had time to prepare a pot of chili and a pot of bean soup to eat for lunches and dinners during the week. This cold weather makes salads less appealing and a bowl of something warm more welcome. I had a copy of “Mr. Sunday’s Soups” written by Lorraine Wallace, Fox news anchor Chris Wallace’s wife, that I had been flipping through for ideas.

 The chili recipe, Ground Turkey and Black Bean Chili  is now a favorite since it uses turkey rather than beef and makes a very mild dish that can be spiced up with a couple of splashes of hot sauce. You might think the red bell peppers would overpower the taste, but I didn’t notice their distinct flavor too much. The recipe follows.

The bean soup is called Senate Bean Soup and is said to be the recipe from the U.S. Senate restaurant. I’ve always loved bean soup but often regret serving it within a few hours. Let’s just say there is a new bottle of Beano in my cupboard! This recipe is a keeper, too, because it is so simple and uncomplicated. As long as you have a free afternoon to watch it simmer on the stove, you will be rewarded with wonderful smoked-ham smell throughout the kitchen.

Senate Bean Soup

From “Mr. Sunday’s Soups”

2 pounds dried navy beans

4 quarts water

1 ½ pounds smoked ham hocks

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a colander, rinse the beans under hot running water until they appear slightly whitened. Pick out and discard any bad ones or debris.

In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, combine the beans, water, and ham nocks and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 3 hours.

Lift out the ham hocks and, when cool enough to handle, remove and dice the meat. Discard the fat, bone, and gristle and return the meat to the pot.

In a small skillet, warm the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until slightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the onion into the soup, along with the salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and taste for seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve. Serves 8.

Ground Turkey and Black Bean Chili

From “Mr. Sunday’s Soups"

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

2 cups finely chopped red bell peppers

1 cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped carrot

2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1 ½ pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

One 5.5 ounce-can V8 juice

Two 14.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Freshly ground black pepper

Place a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add the oil. Add the bell peppers, onion, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the turkey. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the broth, V8 juice, and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens, about 1 hour. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary. Serves 8.

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