I love dried beans. There's something so wholesome and comforting about them, like a crusty loaf of fresh bread or a wheel of cheese. I bought a great 13-bean soup mix a few weeks ago, but the recent heatwave had prevented me from making anything tasty with them until today, our first day of rain in weeks and weeks.
Last night I popped two cups of these babies in a bowl of water. This particular mix has navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, black eyed peas, a variety of split peas, and some lentils.
This morning they looked like this:
In the late afternoon today, I boiled up 10 cups of water and dumped the beans in along with some pork button ribs. I was supposed to use a ham hock, but I couldn't find one anywhere in the grocery store. I love my grocery store, but we really need a local butcher. I figured the button ribs would be my best bet since they seemed pretty bony, and that's generally what you use in soups... right?
After simmering the pork and beans together for a couple of hours, I put in a can of crushed tomatoes, some bay leaves, a diced onion, pepper, chili powder, and a bunch of Italian seasonings. Another hour more, and I had:
It was pretty tasty! It probably could have benefited from a little more spices... maybe a few dashes of Tabasco. But served with a small spinach salad, a baked sweet potato, and a glass of my favourite Gehringer Bros riesling, it made a nice dinner!