Curried Bean Soup

Got this recipe from my mother-in-law many years ago – she is in her nineties now.  This is an easy soup to make and very satisfying – great for a cool fall day.
I use dried beans that I soak and cook myself but you can substitute with canned beans – just make sure you add the liquid from the canned.  Oh yes, almost forgot- this recipe is gluten free.

Curried Bean Soup
1 pound dried kidney or chili beans (probably 2 cans of store bought beans)
12 cups liquid – use the liquid from the canned or home cooked beans plus water to make 12 cups
1 cup onion, diced
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or butter or oil
3 tablespoons sweet rice flour, rice flour or wheat flour if you can eat wheat
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup cooked rice – or just add 1/2 cup dry rice to the soup – I use brown rice.
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup ham , chopped (or smoked sausage or bacon)
If using dry beans, soak overnight, drain in the morning and cover with water.  Cook until soft.
Fry onion in bacon drippings in bottom of large pot.
Add flour and stir.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 30-60 minutes until rice is soft.
This is a pretty forgiving recipe.  You can add more rice and beans if you like a thicker soup.

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