Last night, I was vaguely aware that thunderstorms were rolling through our area. “Vaguely aware” means that I didn’t awake with a jolt and turn to Channel 137 to check the radar. I also didn’t get fully dressed and get back into bed – a habit of mine when the weather is really bad. Somewhere in my head, it hasn’t clicked that, if a tornado hits our neighborhood, the last thing the neighbors will be concerned about is the horror of seeing me in my ratty nightgown.
These were rather gentle summer thunderstorms. Low rumbles of thunder. The steady beat of rain against the roof. Just enough to make me snuggle under the covers and keep on sleeping.
Rainy weather is sleepy weather. I love it.
I love it even more when I can sit at home and watch the rain falling. I don’t like driving in rain. I don’t love being stuck inside a school building all day with children who somehow, every time it rains, become squirrely and can barely stay in their seats. I was one of those kids, too. I loved the idea of indoor recess – being warm and cozy in the classroom with the teacher and playing Bingo or putting puzzles together with my classmates.
Rainy weather means staying in your pj’s and sipping something warm. Rainy weather means movie marathons with the kids. Rainy weather means baking something to make the whole house smell yummy.
Rainy weather means warm food. Soups and stews that warm you from the inside out.
I love this soup recipe. My mama used to make it when we were younger and I just thought it was miraculous. I mean, soup – especially soup that tastes like this – is supposed to take hours. Soup like this means standing over the stove and stirring. Soup like this is a lot of work.
But not this soup.
This soup is cooked…
Wait for it…
…in the microwave!
For real. It’s totally cooked in the microwave and the cooking time equals out to less than twenty minutes! Less than twenty minutes for something warm and hearty and delicious.
You so have to try this.
The most labor-intensive part – and the part that takes the most time – is the chopping of the onion and the slicing of the carrot and celery. And that takes, like, two, three minutes…TOPS!
And it’s a great soup for summer because it won’t heat up your kitchen.
I can’t remember where Mama got the recipe exactly, but I remember this cookbook that I think we got when we got our microwave. I’m pretty sure the original recipe was in that book. We actually got the microwave as a free gift when we bought new living room furniture (Do furniture stores even do stuff like that anymore?). I was in the eighth grade. Using a microwave for something more than heating up leftovers was a foreign concept, but Mama was always willing to try a new recipe. The microwave we got had a sliding switch that turned it into a convection oven. So cool! One of my favorite recipes that Mama got from the cookbook was for baked pork chops that were cooked in the convection oven. While they were cooking, they always smoked up the whole house! So we would open the outside door in the laundry room and take down and disable the shrieking smoke alarm. It was totally worth it. Those pork chops were awesome!
Anyway, Mama’s recipe for this soup called for using a whole carrot. I don’t enjoy peeling carrots because, well, I’m lazy, so I use a handful of baby carrots instead and just slice them in half lengthwise. But you do whatever floats your boat!
I love that this recipe calls for a big can of baked beans. Yes, baked beans. And you just dump the whole can in – unless you want to fish out that piece of bacon that’s usually floating on top so that you can just eat it. Go ahead. I won’t judge.
Also, the original recipe was called “French Country Bean Soup.” I’m not sure why. It doesn’t seem very French or very country. But the Bean Soup part is true enough!
Country Bean Soup
- ½ cup coarsely chopped onion
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup sliced celery
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 1 Tbs dried parsely
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 28-ounce can of baked beans
- 1 15-ounce can of Great Northern beans, drained
- 1 14-ounce can of chicken broth
- 14-ounce package of smoked beef sausage links, sliced into thin pieces
In a large, microwavable dish, mix together the onion, carrot, celery, butter, parsley, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Microwave on high for 7 minutes.
Add the beans, chicken broth, and sausage. Microwave on high for 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and take out the bay leaf before serving
Well Duh #1: Instead of a medium carrot, you can use about 10-15 baby carrots and slice them in half lengthwise.
Well Duh #2: I beseech you to take out of the bay leaf! I cannot emphasize this enough. The bay leaf will add a ton of flavor to your soup, but you have to take it out after the cooking time. If someone were to bite down on that thing…bad things would happen.
Well Duh #3: Once you’ve tried this soup and tasted its glory, you will probably want to keep the ingredients on hand at all times. Luckily, this is a soup that is great for doing just that!
Well Duh #4: My smoked sausage of choice is usually Hillshire Farms, but you can use whatever you like. The sausage is probably the most expensive part of this dish, so watch for sales. There are typically lots of sausage sales during the summer because people like to grill it. When you see the price dip, buy a bunch and freeze it! I almost always have a stockpile of sausage to use for gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, soups, and all kinds of other yummy things! I just put it in the refrigerator the day before I need it so that it will thaw.
Well Duh #5: This dish is made even better if you serve it with cornbread! The baked beans in the recipe give the soup a slightly sweet taste, so you may want to use a cornbread that isn’t too sweet.