Note by Phyllis Brown: This is one recipe where my southern roots shine. Nothing is more country or southern than “soup beans”. My grandmother cooked on a wood stove all her life. Everything she cooked was so good – her biscuits, her cornbread, her fried potatoes! And her soup beans were the best I’ve ever eaten! She let them cook all day. I think that’s the trick – you must have time to let them cook. The juice will be thin and runny if you don’t! And that’s not the way to eat them! It must be thick and yummy – and a lot of it! You don’t want them to cook until there are only beans and no liquid! It’s a fine line to walk for good soup beans! The ingredients are so simple, it’s how they are cooked that make the difference.
- 1 pound cranberry beans
- 1/2 pound northern beans
- 1 stick butter
Wash the beans thoroughly, picking out any beans that are discolored. Place the beans in a large pan and fill with water to within 2 inches of the top. Bring the beans to a boil, cover and turn heat to medium. Let cook for a couple of hours, checking on them every fifteen minutes or so, giving them a good stir at this time. As the beans cook you will need to add more water – perhaps twice during this time period – about a cup or two at a time.
At this point add a stick of butter – real butter please! no margarine! – some salt and pepper. Turn your heat to medium low. Continue to check your beans and stir – you may even need to add just a little more water. When your beans are tender and the “soup” is thick you are ready to eat! They are wonderful with cornbread – or any bread! Some sliced green onions on top – or a chow-chow – add flavor. But I like just the taste of the beans! This is a most economical meal that will feed several people. As leftovers they taste just as good! My mom would sometimes heat and mash the leftovers – refried beans when we didn’t know what they were! Enjoy!