So, for today a simple but important recipe and a lesson for city folks and Yankees. SOUP BEANS!
Soup beans have been a staple for mountain folks for many years, cheap, easy to dry and store and
In addition to addin' a little meat to the soup beans, the bone and meat will have a little fat for flavor as well as addin' salt.
The recipe for Soup Beans is simple!
Place your beans in a pot and wash well. There are often little rocks in the beans, so sift through them as you wash them, also toss any nasty lookin' beans. I don't want to eat a nasty ol' bean.
Cover the beans with plenty of water and set them aside to soak overnight. Some folks don't do this step, but I think it makes for a better pot of soup beans. They plump up and absorb the water. Also, some of the natural starches leech out and makes the beans (and you) a little less gassy.
Next day pour off the water, fill the pot and put on the stove on a medium low heat. I like to cook beans low and slow. Add some salt and pepper. I do this by feel, but I'd say at least a tablespoon of salt at this point and maybe a teaspoon of pepper. You will taste it as it cooks and can add seasonin' as needed.
I add my ham at this point. I often have a big ol' ham bone that came from a Sunday dinner or maybe Easter or Christmas. Some folks add some bacon grease if there isn't much fat on the piece of ham or ham hocks you add. That is up to you and you can add bacon grease at any time for flavor.
As it cooks I stir it occasionally and add water as needed. If you soak the beans overnight you won't add as much water as they cook. Cook the beans for all day is usually how I cook them. I want them to be thick and not soupy/watery when I eat them.
DO NOT STIR A LOT! Over stirrin' will break the beans up and you will have mush.
That is the basic recipe that you would find back home. I add a little garlic and a small onion chopped well to mine. Gives it a bit more flavor.
Now, don't forget the cornbread an' an ol' onion to go with it. If y'all are real mountain folks you might want a big ol' cold glass of buttermilk!