for the love of legumes

From inside the weather looks beautiful, the sun is brightly shinning amongst a light scattering of clouds, the neighborhood dog lays contently on the back porch and a calm breeze sways the trees. The weather is mighty deceitful, this modestly beautiful day comes at a price; 50 degrees Fahrenheit! Needless to say, I am thankful for the sunshine, but ready for the heat that comes along with spring.

Chilly days call for warm foods, since it is only 2pm, I have all day to cook dinner so I decide on a simple but time-consuming dish; legume soup. I recently purchased a large assortment of beans*, ranging from pinto and black to green and yellow chickpeas. I enjoy a hearty and flavorful soup. Even without a cream base, I expect my broth soups to be full of flavor and spice. The first time I made this soup it was far from flavorful,  it was rather bland, even including italian sausage and garlic. Today, I have added sliced frozen sausage from a previous meal, that was so hot it was beyond enjoyable, a cup of fresh red, green and yellow peppers along with garlic, salt and pepper. The soup is set to simmer for 3 hours and hopefully I will have a mild but flavorful lentil and sausage soup.

*Note: The beans used in this recipe are “Epicurean Specialty Gourmet Bean Blend Legumes”. A 1/4 cup serving of these legumes is 120k, 0g fat, 8g protein and 8g fiber

The First Taste: So it is 1 1/2 hours into the simmering and I am still weary about the flavor. I take a quick taste and am blown away by the spice in those little sausages. This soup is hot, scorching, ouch! In an effort to balance the heat I add one can of diced tomatoes, italian style (hey, sometimes whats in the pantry has to suffice over fresh ingredients, fresh tomatoes haven’t been looking too hot at the grocery lately). The canned tomatoes have 4g of sugar and after a quick blending, the heat of the sausages is slightly diminished and the spice level has been kicked down to a mild and sweet spice. Delicate palettes should still be aware, this soup packs a punch!

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