Oh sure, “three beans” — you hear that all the time. This soup is one bean better, but instead of green, waxed and kidney beans, it’s loaded with white beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans and black beans.
Of course, if you have alternate favorite bean choices, go nuts. It’s your soup.
Regarding the beans, you have choices — canned, fresh or dried? My first choice is always fresh and then dried. I’ll adjust the type of beans used in the recipe depending on the type of fresh beans I can get my hands on.
This soup has bacon, which adds smoky flavor and fat. If you want to take the flavor thing a few steps further, toss a smoked pork bone into the pot to simmer.
Four Bean Soup
- ¼ cup each dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas), white beans, lima beans, and black beans (or any 4 varieties of dried beans)
- 2 tsp kosher salt (or 1½ tsp table salt)
- ½ pound smoked bacon, diced
- 3 cups venison stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups cabbage, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- dash or two Tabasco
- Soak the beans. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for 10 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Drain and place in a large pot with 2 quarts water and the kosher salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Remove from heat, and let beans cool in their liquid.
- Cook bacon about halfway in a large pot over medium heat. Add venison, and brown evenly in bacon grease. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
- Remove cover, add cabbage, and continue to simmer until meat is tender. Drain beans, and add to pot. Stir in basil, parsley, lemon juice and Tabasco. Season with additional salt to taste.