Variety is the spice of life, but in the days after Thanksgiving we often find ourselves having to eat turkey, turkey, and more turkey. For a change of pace, try this simple, economical navy bean soup recipe. Anyone can make it. In fact, make a lot and store some — it freezes well. (Just be sure you mark a date on the container.)
3 cups uncooked navy beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced*
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced*
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
freshly ground pepper
Place the beans in a large soup pot and add 2 cups water until the beans are covered with an inch or so extra. Bring the beans to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit for at least one hour but not longer than four hours. Drain the water and add 6 cups of water. Cover and simmer the beans for an hour or so until tender. Pour the beans and liquid into a large bowl.
Heat the oil in the soup pot on medium heat and saute the onions until soft, then add the garlic. Saute for a minute or so, and then put the beans and liquid back into the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed.
*If you want a slightly different look, slice the carrots and celery on the diagonal.
See Back to Basics: Cooking for Thanksgiving Weekend for more recipes.