Saturday, July 17, 2010

Feverish Cooking

Must have caught a fever this morning and been overcome by weird ideas, because in all this summer heat I took a notion to whip up a big pot of bean soup, a dead of winter dish to most people’s way of thinking. A feverish notion is not ample excuse for heating up the house and preparing something that sends a rush of heat and sweat to the face, and leaves your tongue hanging out. But that’s what I did, so turn on the fan and think for a few minutes about ‘bean & Italian sausage soup.’

No pretense over the origin of this recipe, and it’s no doubt one that a million shoppers have tried at least once. I discovered it about a month ago on the back of a supermarket bag of beans. Tried it out and liked it, so now I’m once again steaming up the house.


What you will need:

ONE 20 ounce bag of Hurst’s HamBeens Cajun 15 Bean Soup

ONE pound of mild Italian sausage — In tube or link, or you might try using ground sausage and shaping it into irregular-sized balls.

ONE large onion chopped

ONE 15 ounce can of stewed or diced tomatoes.

The juice of ONE lemon

ONE-TWO cloves of garlic chopped or minced

The bag of Hurst’s Hambeen includes an envelope of Creole seasoning; or 3 tablespoons of Zatarain’s Cajun Seasoning will work as well.

THREE-FOUR cups of cooked rice; Mahatma Jasmine rice has a good flavor with this soup.


Wash the bag of beans, then drop them into three quarts of water and get them boiling. Set your timer at 70 minutes, give the beans a stir, drop the lid on and sit down for a sip of icy martini and a puff on that smoldering Chesterfield.

Return to the pot of beans and stir them again. You might lower the heat under the soup to reduce the heavy boil, not wanting too much liquid to evaporate.

Chop the onion roughly, and then either chop or mince the garlic in with the onion. Slice the Italian sausage into manageable bites, or shape the ground sausage into balls or tiny patties.

Put a little olive oil in a wok on medium high heat. Brown the onion and garlic and add the sausage. Continue to sauté the mix until the sausage has browned somewhat.

With 30 minutes left in your original 70 minutes, add the can of tomatoes, lemon juice and the sausage-onion mix.

Next, stir in the Cajun or Creole seasoning.

Now is the time to put the rice on to cook. I use a battered old Japanese rice cooker, which cooks fast. It may take a little longer cooking the rice in a regular pot. Figure on 30 minutes.

When the last 30 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat and allow the pot of soup to stand for a while. It’s much too hot to eat, so let the flavors meld for half an hour.

When the boiling heat of the soup has dissipated to a point where it won’t burn your lips and tongue, go ahead and serve it up. Put a cup or two of rice in a bowl, and ladle the soup and sausage over the rice. In between fighting for breath and fanning yourself, you can enjoy a hearty and tasty Louisiana soup. Bon appetite.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America