Basic Bean Soup

Basic Bean Soup

That’s right – “BEAN SOUP”. Very simple by name but so very un-simple by taste. How can such a humble ingredient, like dried beans, become a crave-worthy, mouthwatering meal? Well let me share a few tips that make dried beans something you’ll want to put on your menu!

beans soaking

Tips for the BEST Basic Bean Soup

You can’t rush excellence.

Emily, FFAY

Well, you can try, but it doesn’t always go well. Dried beans aren’t exactly a fast food to deal with – so the first tip when dealing with dried beans : don’t rush them. Depending on the type of bean, they may need to soak up to 24 hours.

You get out of it what you put in to it.

Emily, FFAY

Ingredients matter – in this case ::

  • freshly dried, heirloom beans from Iacopi Farms (a little farm in Northern CA)
  • good quality chicken stock & crushed tomatoes
  • filtered water (because any ‘off flavors’ in tap water will be concentrated in your basic bean soup – ew.)
  • keep it simple – limit the ingredients in order to allow the beans to be the star

Hold the salt.

Emily, FFAY

Dried beans BEG for salt and you may be inclined to add your salt at the beginning of the cooking process – but DO NOT DO THAT. While cooking, salt actually interacts with dried beans in such a way that prevents them from softening, so do not add salt until you’ve almost achieved the desired (creamy) texture. Then add salt and continue boiling until the creamy texture is achieved.

I love the simple comfort that this Basic Bean Soup provides. The perfect creamy texture of the beans partnered with the subtle heat from the hot sauce and brininess from the ham makes this a classic, happy staple on our family meal menu. I hope that these few tips I’m sharing help you fall in love with the humble magical basic bean!

soup bean basic

Bean Soup

  • 1 lb dried beans, I used an heirloom bean from Iacopi Farms called Prim Manteca
  • 2 c thick cut ham, diced (if you have a ham bone that works great too)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 14 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 T hot sauce, depending on heat preference
  • pinch of pepper
  • filtered water
  • salt to taste, likely 2-3 teaspoons (or more)

To prepare your beans, soak up to overnight ((these beans soaked for 24 hours.)) Once beans have soaked, drain off the water.

In a medium, 4-5 qt soup pot, combine

  • 2 c thick cut ham, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes

Sauté to caramelize onions & blister tomatoes, about 10 minutes over medium flame.

Once onions have caramelized, add

  • chicken stock
  • crushed tomatoes
  • diced sweet pepper (or whole small sweet peppers if you can find some)
  • hot sauce
  • pinch of pepper

Bring to a rapid boil and cover, offset with the pot lid (leaving about 2″ for steam to evaporate).

Continue boiling until beans are tender to the bite, (I prefer mushy). As the liquid evaporates, add room-temp or warm filtered water to maintain a consistent level of cooking liquid (about 1-2″ below the top of the pot).

Stir occasionally and begin testing doneness after 45 minutes – 1 hour depending on the bean type.

Once beans are very close to being cooked through and creamy (aka mushy), season with salt and additional pepper + hot sauce to taste. Bring back to a boil for 5 minutes and serve.

Serves 6-8