Making History: Pinto Bean Soup

My mother loved to make soup and although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, bean soup is now one of my favorites from her repertoire. But my bean soup prowess is limited to my mother’s bean soup recipe and I haven’t explored any other variations, until now.

On my other blog (Recovered Recipes) I am currently hosting a food blog event named “Making History”, where participants select an old recipe card and make the recipe then show both the recipe card and outcome (there’s still time to participate – deadline is October 17th, 2008). A few weeks ago, I shared this recipe for pinto bean soup and have been anxious to make it ever since. So, here it is — my entry for the Making History event!

Unlike my mother’s soup, this recipe uses quite a few spices as well as tomatoes and green peppers. The outcome though is a delicious soup that is hearty and robust. The recipe card is shown below. Although the original owner of the recipe card marked off a few of the ingredients, I followed the recipe as it was written and included all of the seasonings. Be careful to note that I believe the lower case ‘t’ represents a teaspoon while the capital ‘T’ represents a tablespoon.

The soup is easy to make and makes a large batch, enough for 6 people or so. I soaked the beans overnight then drained. I added the beans, 8 cups water, and 2 cups chopped ham to a large pot and cooked over low heat for about 2 hours (a light simmer). Then, I added the remaining ingredients and cooked for another 45 minutes. Using the back of my spoon, I mashed up some of the beans to thicken the soup. Adjust seasonings and serve. I should note that I did omit the MSG and butter.

Although I still love my mum’s soup, this version is also good. I discovered the recipe in an old set of recipes I purchased on eBay. The eBay seller informed me that she bought it from the original owner who was in her 80s and entering a retirement home in Oklahoma. The weathered recipe shows that this must have been a special soup for her family and was likely made often. I’m happy that I had the chance to try it and could share with a few more people!

I need to stop typing so I can go have another bowl of soup. I also made a ridiculously large batch of gingersnap cookies today and will be sharing the outcome of those later this week :-)

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  • Manggy October 13, 2008, 8:04 pm

    It kind of reminds me of a simple minestrone (which is really what it is, since a minestrone is just a soup made of seasonal vegetables– even if the tomato and bean variety is most popular). It looks delicious– it’s raining cats and dogs here and I could use a bowl now. (I love minestrone.)

    I have a recipe lined up for this event but I don’t have the proper pan (mini-muffin tins)! Dammit! I need to shop. (Again?!)

  • Susan from Food Blogga October 13, 2008, 8:20 pm

    Wow! I’m so surprised that monosodium glutamate was an ingredient. Nowadays, it’s become so demonized. I’m sure yours was perfect without it. I love a good bowl of bean soup at this time of year. These old recipes are gems, Allen.

  • Peter G October 13, 2008, 8:49 pm

    I’ll 86 the MSG…but I love the rest! Bean soups are fantastic any time of the year for me!

  • Erik October 13, 2008, 11:27 pm

    You gotta love a recipe card with stains on it…you just know it has been used so many times. But I must admit I was surprised about the MSG too. You would think the cumin would give it enough body.
    I also prefer brown sugar over regular white sugar.

  • Peter October 14, 2008, 12:19 am

    It’s amazing that you’ve saved her recipe cards and shared them.

    I’d take this soup with a grilled cheese sandwich at lunch…niiice.

  • kat October 14, 2008, 6:28 am

    a well used recipe card definitely says something about the recipe

  • Ben October 14, 2008, 9:05 am

    Hmmm pinto bean soup. I’ll check out the event and try to make it. Sounds like a lot of fun :)

  • RecipeGirl October 15, 2008, 7:02 am

    I had to laugh… that’s exactly how all of my mother’s recipe cards were printed- on the typewriter!

    I can’t wait to visit my mom in Feb. to snag some of the old recipes so I can begin participating in your other site!

  • Min November 9, 2008, 10:27 am

    This soup looks great! I purchased a box of vintage cookbooks at an estate sale last spring, hadn’t thought to look for recipe boxes on ebay…thanks, I think ;-)

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