About two weeks ago we had a huge ice storm here in Augusta, Georgia. Many lost power and heating for days. For those of you that have never been to Augusta, GA…. we have tons of tall skinny pine trees that will fall from time to time and destroy homes, cars or anything in their way. Usually they fall during those dreadful thunder storms that the South is so famous for, but this time the Georgia pines grew heavy with ice and their limbs broke, then fell to the ground.
Here is our backyard after the storm. Yep… it looks like a war zone. We fared better than many in our neighborhood. That looks like snow on the ground in the photo….. but it’s all ice pellets. Very unusual for this part of the country. We were very blessed that no trees fell on our house or in the pool and we had no significant damage. We were also blessed that we have gas logs to stay warm and a gas range top that allowed us to heat food and water during the 19 hours that we went without power.
During the storm, I happened to remember that I had some 15-bean soup in the freezer that I had made a couple of weeks before. I pulled it out, let it thaw and reheated it on our gas stove top. We were able to have a warm cozy meal by candlelight in front of the fire that Wednesday evening….. as we listened to the tree limbs snap and fall to the ground. We were thankful for a safe place to sleep and warm food.
This soup is very hearty and filling, but also clean, healthy and nutritional. It’s super easy to prepare as well. You could even make it in the crock pot if you wanted to save some time. I simply picked up a bag of 15-bean soup at Publix, but I did not use the little packet of stuff (….and I say stuff… because who knows what is in it) that comes in the bag of beans to season them. I used my own recipe of Cajun Spices. I added our favorite clean chicken sausage to the bean soup, however you could leave the sausages out for a great vegan/vegetarian soup option.
As I’m sure you know…beans are amazingly nutritious and provide loads of fiber and protein to our diets. The deeper colored beans, such as red kidney beans, provide a large amount of antioxidants….. even more than blueberries. Legumes are generally very inexpensive and are known as “the poor man’s meat”, but should be called the…”healthy man’s meat” because it’s a great replacement for meat in our diet.
I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. Enjoy and avoid ice storms if possible! 🙂
|Cajun Style 15 Bean Soup|| |
- 1 bag of mixed dried beans or 1 bag of 15 bean soup (Discard the spice packet that comes with the beans)
- 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 organic green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium organic yellow onion, chopped
- 1 can of organic chopped tomatoes (I used Muir Glen brand)
- 1-1/2 Tbsp. of blackened seasoning... see recipe below
- ½ tsp. of cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 package of Bilinski's chicken Andouille sausages
- Sea Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Franks hot sauce... if you so choose
- Scallions to garnish
- Rinse the beans well and place into a large stock pot, ½ - ¾ full of filtered water.
- Bring to a boil and follow the package directions for cooking.
- Chop the onion and green bell pepper and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until softened. Approximately 5 minutes.
- After the beans have cooked for approximately 60 minutes, add the sautéed veggies to the beans along with the can of chopped tomatoes. Stir well.
- Add the blackened seasoning, cayenne and 1 bay leaf to the stock pot also.
- Simmer on low, stirring often for approximately another 30 minutes.
- Throw in about 5 shakes of hot sauce and the sliced chicken sausages and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately and garnish with scallions and additional hot sauce if desired.
Recipe for Blackened Seasoning is as follows: 1 Tbsp. each of garlic powder, onion powder and ground dried thyme. 1 ½ Tbsp. of paprika, 1 teaspoon each of cracked black pepper, dried basil and dried oregano. Then add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoons of cayenne, according to your taste. Mix well and store in an air tight container.
Franks Hot Sauce is the best hot sauce ever. There is nothing fake in this hot sauce, Here in the South…. hot sauce is a staple food!
Bilinski’s brand chicken sausages are a great option to replace beef or pork processed sausages in your Cajun style recipes. It’s the best choice for sausages that I have found. Preservative free, gluten free, nitrate free and no pork casings.