Mixed Bean Soup with Fresh Herbs

Are you like me who makes a quick list before heading into a store? I’ve been that way for some time and my lists that I keep during the week add up. These lists though allow me to make my driving routes and get into stores quickly and efficiently as I make attempts to stay clear of those who may look sick (coughing, sneezing, etc), especially this time of year. Not too long ago however I found myself checking off my list of things to get at Costco, but then got sidetracked, most likely because I saw some sickos ahead of me and turned down an aisle that I did not need anything from, that is until I saw a big bag of mixed beans that looked great, even in their uncooked state. We always talk about getting more legumes into our diet, so I was already sold.

Mixed Bean and Fresh Herb Soup Recipe
Mixed Bean and Fresh Herb Soup Recipe

So I have been making soup at least once a week recently, most likely due to the season, and granted I made French Onion Soup back to back, I decided I was going to use up those beans and turn them into a Middle Eastern style soup, and this one a mixed bean soup with fresh herbs, and pork. This soup was so good, and we knew it as we ended up eating it again the following day for another dinner.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 3 cups of mixed beans, washed and soaked in water overnight (I used a blend of mixed beans including garbanzo)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups pork shoulder, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • fried onions, optional

Start by soaking your beans overnight in cool water in a large bowl. When you are ready to make the soup, rinse and strain the beans.

Heat a soup pot on medium heat. Add in the oil and bring to temperature. Toss in the onion, and stir, cooking for about 7 minutes. Next, toss in the garlic, and turmeric and give a good stir. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add in the strained beans. Give a good mix, then add in the stock, water, and pork. Cook this for about 2 hours, covered on medium-low heat.

Once the beans are tender, check about 1 hour in, add in the salt and cracked pepper. Start with about 2 tsp of salt as the beans can handle that, and about one teaspoon of black pepper. Stir and continue to cook. Taste for any additional seasoning. Add more if necessary.

Mixed Bean and Fresh Herb Soup
Mixed Bean and Fresh Herb Soup

Add in the fresh herbs and spinach, stir and cook for about 10 more minutes to allow those herbs to perfume the soup.

Now you are ready to serve.

Mixed Bean and Fresh Herb Soup
Mixed Bean and Fresh Herb Soup

Ladle the soup into a bowl and top with fried onions.

The end result is really comforting. You get the creamy beans, still having some texture, along with the fresh herbs which are the real star, and the super tender pork and crispy onions. It’s really a great bowl of soup, plus super healthy to boot. What is not to love about that? So thank you to the person who sneezed an aisle ahead of me and allowing me to turn down that aisle at Costco. Those beans and I thank you. Hope you enjoy!

Filipino Bistek Tagalog Sliders

Lately I have been thrown a few challenges. Some major ones such as battling cancer, and some minor ones such as how to scale down feeding a family. See, we lost our oldest to college this year. It’s exciting to everyone, but the change was an interesting variable to deal with. Sure, it has been quiet, the house easier to pick up, less dishes, less laundry, less noise, and less food consumption. To me, that’s nice, but the food consumption is something I am still getting a grasp on. I know it sounds easy but when you have been cooking as long as I have, you get used to portions, or should I say teenage portions.

My oldest, probably since he hit his teens, has been a big eater. The kid will crush three burgers if he is bored (I’m not even sure hungry), a meal of two plates of nachos, 36 chicken wings… You get it. So now (and probably always) I have many leftovers which sadly often time can go to waste. Due to my condition, I cannot really entertain the idea of leftovers, even my own, if it sits over a day in the refrigerator, so you can see where I am going. I’m learning to scale down on family meals, and it is tough. Thankfully there was something I made earlier this month, Bistek Tagalog where it was so tasty that I had the appetite the following day to make something out of the leftover, and it was a simple as making a slider and adding some cheese. BOOM!

Filipino Bistek Sliders
Filipino Bistek Sliders

The process of making Bistek Tagalog (Steak with onions along with great Filipino flavors) is simple to begin with, and then warming up the leftovers and putting them between two soft buns, well you have something great to eat in no time.

Let’s get started:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked Bistek Tagalog, warmed
  • 1 slice provolone cheese, per slider
  • 2 slider buns, per slider

That is it!

Take a skillet, and heat it to medium heat. Add in whatever amount of bistek tagalog you want for your sliders and let it come to temperature. Once the beef and onions are nice and warm add some provolone cheese to the top.

Bistek Tagalog Ingredients
Bistek Tagalog Ingredients

Once the cheese begins to melt, left up and slide onto the bottom of your slider bun. Top with the top bun. Repeat if necessary.

As much as I love a great cheesesteak sandwich, the Filipino bistek tagalog slider is one sandwich to be reckoned with, and low and behold I got to use up some of my leftovers!

P.S. The kid is back from college this week so I’m hoping leftovers will be held to a minimum for a few days!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! (If you are looking for some ideas for recipes this Thanksgiving, give these a try.)