I love the multi bean and barley soup mixes that many stores have on their shelves. The basic recipes included on the back of most of the packages are DULL, bland and well, tasteless. This is my jazzed up version. It has loads of flavor and takes about 20 minutes of active prep time to pull together. Try it. You’ll like it.
Sausage and 17 Bean Chili
- 2 cups “17 Bean and Barley Mix” from Trader Joe’s OR 2 cups of mixed dried beans and barley or 2 cups of any other brand of mixed dried beans
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups onion, finely chopped or one bag TJ’s chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups carrots, chopped
- 1 ½ cups celery, chopped
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper (I used a blend of orange and yellow – but any color will do)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 pounds uncooked Sweet Italian Sausage (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
- One 15-oz can tomato sauce
- One 15-oz can chopped fire roasted tomatoes
- One 15-oz can diced tomatoes with chilies (I used TJ’s fire roasted tomatoes w/chilies)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- Two 32-ounce boxes turkey broth (you can use vegetable or chicken broth instead)
- salt and pepper to taste
To get the beans ready for use you have two options, a slow method and an even slower method. The even slower method requires starting the day before, and despite appearances to the contrary, I rarely have enough foresight to begin things a day in advance. So, I use the SLOW method. I’ll outline both. In a large soup pot or Dutch Oven cover the two cups of beans with 8 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-high and cook the beans, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Shut off the heat and allow the beans to sit for 90 minutes. Once you are ready to use the beans, drain and rinse them. The SLOWER method is to put the two cups of beans in a large soup pot and cover them with LOADS of water and leave them overnight. When you are ready to use them drain and rinse them.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, soup pot or Dutch Oven. Add the chopped onions, garlic, carrots, celery, bell pepper and the red pepper flakes. Brown on medium heat until the vegetables are soft and golden, 10-12 minutes. Cut open the turkey sausages with a pair of kitchen scissors or a knife and squeeze the meat out of the casings. Toss the casings in the trash. Toss the meat into the pot. Brown the turkey sausage, breaking it up as you go, until the turkey is completely cooked through. No pink spots should remain.
Add the tomato sauce, both kinds of chopped tomatoes, the spices and the turkey broth. Stir together and let simmer for five minutes uncovered. Correct the seasoning – it won’t need much salt – there’s enough in the sausage and the canned tomatoes. Add the drained and rinsed beans. Cook uncovered at a simmer for 90 minutes, or until the beans are cooked through. Serve. This soup is delicious with a dollop of sour cream on top, or a sprinkle of grated cheese, or even some diced green onions (or all three). It makes a lot of soup. The soup will be even better on the second day. We eat half the batch and freeze the other half.