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A Good Recipe Is Worth Repeating
(Food #13, August 30, 2004)

cajun bean soup
cajun bean soup pic
Just right, and easy to make!

   I published this recipe during Thanksgiving, 1998. I received no feedback on it, but anyone who tried it knows it's a very tasty, very nutritious soup; spicy, but not too hot; definitely Louisiana, not southwest.
   My cajun bean soup fits right in with the growing interest in healthy foods and losing weight. It's low in calories—consequently low in Weight Watchers Points® and it qualifies for the new Weight Watchers Core Plan®. Atkins dieters—Hey! Sorry, lots of carbs in here; I don't do low carb.
   There are lots of ingredients in this soup, but it's very easy to make. The hardest job is chopping the vegetables, and how hard is that?
   Note that the beans are all dry beans. Don't let that bother you. Read the label on the bean bags—great nutrition! Just start a little ahead and follow the easy directions for soaking and cooking them. I use a pressure cooker for beans, and the results are quick and easy:
  • cook soaked beans 12 minutes at 15 psi;
  • quench the cooker when the time is done.
And a suggestion: a small pat of margarine or half a teaspoon of olive oil or canola oil added to the pressure cooker will keep the beans from foaming while they cook. Beans cooked in a pressure cooker need a little time after cooking to develop their full flavor. That's done in the crock pot (some people call them slow cookers).
   Of course, you can also cook soaked beans on the stovetop. It just takes a while longer. Follow the directions on the bean bags.
   Green beans would be great in this soup, but I haven't included them because my crock pot is too small. I'd have to leave out some of the other veggies, and I didn't really want to do that. Maybe some of the vegetables on my list aren't your favorites; substitute green beans, corn, green peas, okra—anything you like; whatever you can fit in. Also good are whole pieces of chicken (skin removed), smoked sausage, chunks of lean ham. I love meats in this soup, but they do have a calorie penalty.
   If you use a crock pot cook the soup on LOW until the celery and carrots are tender.

five beans
Dried beans—nutritious favorites...
    cajun bean soup updated

  • beans
  • 1 oz. dried pinto beans
  • 2 oz. dried great northern beans
  • 1 oz. dried chick peas
  • 2 oz. dried lima beans
  • 2 oz. dried kidney beans
  • 1 oz. dried lentils (brown or red)
  • 2 oz. dried black-eyed peas
If your crock pot is not large, you can reduce the great northern beans, the lima beans, and the kidney beans to 1 oz. each to save room. Soak the beans in enough water to cover them, overnight or during a workday; rinse and cook in enough water to cover the beans about 1-inch.
  • Vegetables
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 turnip, cubed
  • about 8 small new potatoes, halved
  • 1 to 1-1/2 stalk celery, cut diagonally
  • 1 or 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally
  • 1 or 2 cups cabbage, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 large bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomatoes and chiles
...and fresh vegetables...
...and seasonings of all types.
  • Seasonings
  • 1 scant tsp. lemon juice or cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cajun seasoning—OR—make your own:
  •    1 Tbsp. salt
  •    1 Tbsp. ground cayenne pepper
  •    1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1/2-tsp. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
Put vegetables into your crock pot and turn it on LOW. If your crock pot is not large, you can reduce the vegetables; leave room for the beans.
   When the beans are cooked, cool the pressure cooker and add them and their broth to the vegetables in the crock pot. Continue to cook on LOW, covered, for four to eight hours. It's done when the celery and carrots are tender.

   This recipe makes about ten 8-oz. servings, at about 125 calories or 2 Weight Watchers Points® per serving.


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