As you may have read in my previous post, I was trying a new to me recipe this week. Irish Parliament Bean Soup from Meg O’Malley’s Irish Pub in Melbourne, Florida. They offer this delicious soup on their menu for the traditional price of 18 cents. If you are in Melbourne, I’d suggest you stop by Meg’s for lunch, dinner, drinks, or whatever. You can’t miss!
The recipe for this soup was something I’ve been watching for ever since our visit about five years ago. Recently, I did a search for it and found what one person claims is the original recipe. Now, since I know that not everything you read on the Internet isn’t necessarily true, I took that claim with the proverbial pinch of salt.
I gathered the ingredients and this last weekend decided to test the recipe. It was pretty easy finding most of the ingredients required. Nearly every grocery store I know carries dried beans, carrots, celery and onions. Finding a ham bone was a little bit of a challenge. The first shopping trip resulted in no ham bone. Why? Because I forgot to write it on my list!
On my next trip, I remembered to write it down, but the store where I usually shop didn’t have any in the meat case. Since it was late, I didn’t ask the butcher if there was a ham bone hiding in the back cooler.
During the third trip out, I was able to locate a package of ham hocks. Now, although ham hocks are similar, they are not exactly: ham bone. By this time, I’d decided that a substitution would work just fine. In fact, I decided the ham hocks looked like they would work very nicely! And honestly, they did.
I was also surprised at the difficulty I had locating bay leaves in my local stores. I checked several of the grocery stores for bay leaves on those many trips. If they had bay leaves in stock, I wasn’t able to read the label to find them. Which is possible, considering my eyesight. I did find some bay leaves at a drug-store-department-store-grocery-store establishment.
You can find the recipe in it’s original format here. I followed the recipe to the letter and started on Saturday morning chopping up the carrots, celery and onions. I was working on the other weekend recipe for roast beef and it’s a time save to chop all the veggies at the same time. I figure that while I’m in the chopping mood, get all the dicing out of the way! That way I only have to clean up once!
Dried beans are quite nutritious and economical, but they take a little planning for preparation. Most recipes I’ve found that call for dried beans require that the beans are soaked overnight. Saturday I placed the two pounds of beans in my pan and added the water for soaking. When I saw the beans in my pan, I thought: That’s a lot of beans.
Sunday I pulled out my crock pot and began the steps to complete the recipe. One gallon of water was called for. I did a little cooking math and translated 1 gallon to 4 quarts, which at 4 cups to a quart is 16 cups. WHAT! 16 cups of water, I started counting. And filled my crock pot. Literally, the crock pot was full and I hadn’t added *any* additional ingredients. I decided it would be wise to use the second crock pot also. Count out 8 cups of water into the second crock pot. I divided the remaining ingredients in half, placing some in each crock pot and set the temperature to low.
The Lesson Learned
When you obtain a recipe from a restaurant, consider the portions they are working with. Most chefs have to feed a crowd each night and therefore the recipes they use tend to make large quantities. This is in our favor when as customers, we don’t have to wait for the soup to cook (90 minutes) or hear the waiter say “sorry, we’re out”. However, at home, we generally are cooking for four or six people. The next time I make this recipe, I’ll be dividing the ingredient quantities in half.
Since my family wasn’t going to eat two full crock pots of soup and freezing that much would definitely keep me set for soup lunches until 2014, I needed to find a way to share the soup. I took one crock pot full of bean soup into the office and asked my coworkers to sample it. The consensus from my taste testers: Very Yummy Indeed.
I did end up freezing a good sized portion of soup. And I’m eating bean soup for lunch every day this week.
Download a copy of the recipe in PDF format to your computer for Free by clicking here.