We have had such cold weather in Southern California lately! The temperatures have been in the 20′s at night in our area, cold enough to severely damage our avocado trees and the precious crop that is almost ready to harvest. There isn’t much we can do to prevent the damage…it’s all up to Mother Nature. The best way to take our minds off the weather is to chop veggies and make pots of delicious soup.
The beans are colorful…soaking in the water highlights all the colors and shapes! I use 1 part beans to 3 parts water, and let them soak overnight. In the morning I drain the beans and add fresh water to the beans….so that there are 2-3 inches of water covering the beans. Bring the beans and water to a boil, then lower the heat and let them simmer until the beans are tender… an hour or so.
I love chopping onions, carrots and celery for soup! The colors are so pretty! Saute them in a little olive oil, add some minced garlic and some thyme. When the beans have cooked until they’re tender, add the vegetables to the soup. I usually add a bay leaf too.
When I make bean soup I usually add a ham hock or a smoked pork chop…or even smoked sausage. (Check out my Mixed Bean Soup with Smoked Chicken Sausage!) A very special treat is smoked turkey. Every year we are the happy recipients of a Greenberg smoked turkey from Texas…a holiday gift from my very special cousin. Now that our boys have moved into places of their own, we don’t eat up the huge turkey as fast as we used to. This year I had some left over to make this delicious soup!
I make soup in the morning so it will be ready to eat by lunchtime. When the family comes in from the cold, they can smell the soup cooking! Soup is even better on the second day, as those delicious flavors mingle over time. And for a really special treat, add some sliced avocado on top! This is the season for the “green skin” avocados in California….try some fabulous Fuerte avocados on top of your soup!