In the depths of winter weather–or as deep as it gets in these parts–often the only thing standing between me and acute culinary boredom is the freezer. Sure, pumpkins and winter squash are exciting at first, but it doesn’t take long before summer produce envy sets in and I start pining for the juicy tomatoes and fresh field peas of a few months ago. There’s not much I can do about the tomatoes–canned and frozen are okay for cooked dishes, but they’re never going to make it into one of my salads–but peas and beans that have been frozen when they’re fresh lose only a little of their taste and nutrition and make a decent substitute for the fresh thing.
I have friends and neighbors who buy enough butter beans and lady cream peas to eat their summertime fill and have enough left over to blanch and freeze for the winter. In my next life, I hope to be one of these people. For now, I have to settle for store-bought frozen peas, which I’m able to find in several varieties. For this delicious, savory soup, I used Pictsweet brand speckled butter beans. They’re about the same size as Fordhook lima beans, but they’re dark and a little less starchy. If they’re not available in your area, feel free to substitute frozen lima beans or black-eyed peas. Just avoid anything canned; I find that canned butter beans can ruin the flavor of just about anything!
Butter Bean Soup with Portabellas and Wild Rice
If you don’t have wild rice, pearled barley or another grain can be used instead; just be sure to pick one that cooks in less than an hour.
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups water
- 1 pound speckled butter beans or Fordhook lima beans, fresh or frozen
- 6 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup wild rice
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, or 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Heat a large non-stick pot. Add the onions, and saute until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. (Add a tablespoon or two of water to prevent sticking, if necessary.) Add the celery and garlic, and cook for another two minutes.
- Add the water and butter beans and bring to a boil. Add all remaining ingredients, bring back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the beans and wild rice are both done, 45-55 minutes. If necessary, thin soup with water as it is cooking, according to taste. Just before serving, about 1/2 cup of the beans may be mashed or blended to make the broth thicker.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 55 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 151 Calories (kcal); trace Total Fat; (1% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 849mg Sodium; 6g Fiber. Weight Watchers Core / 2 Points.