Thursday, January 11, 2007


"Imagine, if you can, what the rest of the evening was like. How they crouched by the fire which blazed and leaped and made much of itself in the little grate. How they removed the covers of the dishes, and found rich, hot savory soup, which was a meal in itself, and sandwiches and toast and muffings enough for both of them."
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

2 pounds special bean soup mix (e.g. '16' bean assortment --- with large lima, navy, red kidney, baby lima, great northern, speckled lima, black, pinto, cranbery, pink, and black-eyes peas, green and yellow split peas, lentils, etc. )
3 pounds bulk Italian sausage (one plain, one hot or spicy and one fennel )
3 quarts organic chicken broth
1 large chopped Spanish onion
3 large chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large chopped green pepper
1 large chopped red pepper
1 pound peeled and diagonally sliced carrots
1 can (28-ounce) Italian style diced tomatoes
1 jar (32-ounce) sugar-free pasta sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. crushed rosemary
2 whole bay leaves
lots of cracked pepper
Lawrey's Seasoned pepper to taste
coarse salt to taste
juice of large lemon
1 heafty cup brandy
Wash and soak beans. Cover with cold water and soak 2 hours or overnight. Drain. In large pot, bring beans to boil in enough cold water to cover and simmer gently about 45 minutes, adding more water if necessary. While beans are cooking, saute sausage in large stockpot, breaking up large pieces. Cook until browned. If too lean, add a bit of olive oil. Drain off excess grease leaving a few scant Tbsp. Saute onion, garlic, and peppers. Carefully pour in chicken broth. Bring to boil. Add parsley, carrots, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, brown sugar and seasonings. Reduce heat. Add drained beans and simmer one hour or until beans are tender. Stir in brandy before serving and adjust seasonings.
This hearty soup is great served with crusty sourdough or heavy multi-grained bread. (don't forget the sweet butter or, better yet, a dish of balsamic infused olive oil topped with crushed red pepper flakes.)

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