Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Butter Bean Soup

Butter Bean Soup
Dorcas Annette Walker

After all the holiday desserts of December I thought I’d start the New Year off with a warm tasty soup as the temperatures outside plunge downward. Chilly winter days find me cooking in my kitchen either popping something into my oven or making a pot of soup when I’m not hovering close to my woodstove. It was on such a day that I first made up a pot of Butter Bean Soup while winter winds howled outside my kitchen window. Weeks earlier someone from the church, where we were pastoring at the time, had given us several cans of butter beans and I was scurrying around making Sunday dinner for some unexpected company at the parsonage when I decided to add butter beans to the menu to help round out the meal. As I cooked the lady guest read all the labels counting up calories for her diet when she suddenly called my attention to a recipe printed on the back of a can of butter beans. She was impressed with the low calorie count while I was intrigued with the idea of a new recipe. I decided to try and make some Butter Bean Soup. The original recipe contained only vegetables. My husband is a meat eater and I wanted the soup to be a bit more filling so I started with browning some hamburger. I soon had a mouth-watering aroma simmering on my stove that drew my husband into the kitchen to see what I was cooking up.

Butter Beans are grown for its dried seed but eaten as a vegetable. The term butter bean is widely used for a large, flat, and white variety of lima beans. The difference between butter beans and lima beans is based on the size of the pods and seeds. The first variety is a large slightly curved flat green bean known as the lima bean while the second type has smaller seeds known as butter beans. The small-seeded butter beans tolerate more heat but are harder to shell. Lima and butter beans with speckled seeds have a stronger taste than the white or green varieties. Butter beans are more commonly grown in Mexico where they are harvested from seedpods. They have tiny amounts of fat, are higher in iron, and slightly higher in calorie count than limas. You can find fresh butter beans from late spring through the early parts of summer, although canned butter beans are more common. Butter beans are strictly a southern cooking term and there are even recipes for butter bean pie, which they say has a similar consistency and taste as a sweet potato pie. Now that I would have to see for myself!

Butter Bean Soup is not only a nutritious addition to your menu but is colorful as well. This filling soup served with hot corn muffins and stuffed celery stalks will satisfy even a man-sized appetite. My Butter Bean Soup takes about an hour to prepare and serves eleven.

Butter Bean Soup

Brown ½ lb of hamburger. Sprinkle garlic salt, regular salt, and pepper on meat as it browns along with 1 tb of chopped dried onion.
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans butter beans
½ tsp salt
In a blender cover with water and chop:
2 cups of carrots peeled and sliced
2 cups of fresh celery
Pour into soup, bring contents to a boil, and simmer for twenty minutes. Serve hot. Garnish with parsley or fresh celery leaves!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com or htpp://dorcasannettewalker.blogspot.com for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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