The musical fruit

It’s been years since I’ve made a batch of Cajun 15-bean soup, and I don’t know why — it’s delicious. As the weather here tiptoes into fall, I was moved to buy the fixings yesterday, and the beans are simmering as we speak.

This isn’t a recipe per se, because it’s based on a commercial product, but there are so many ingredients to add that it seems (and tastes) like a recipe rather than processed food. (That also means it’s open to tinkering.) You start with HamBeens 15-Bean Cajun Soup mix, which you will find in the dry bean aisle. They also make a regular 15-Bean Soup mix, which is also good.

The bag contains only the dry beans and a Cajun seasoning packet. You soak the beans overnight, then simmer them for 2 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, you brown a pound or two of italian sausage with a large onion and 1-2 cloves of garlic (I’m using more garlic). After the beans have simmered, you add the sausage/onion/garlic mixture along with a can of diced or stewed tomatoes, the juice of one lemon and the contents of the seasoning packet. Simmer for another half an hour and enjoy. Like a lot of soups, it’s even better reheated the next day.

As I said, you can improvise; the package directions suggest ham or polish sausage as alternatives to the Italian sausage. I can’t decide whether to use regular diced tomatoes or a can of tomatoes and chilies for some extra heat.

Interestingly, when I went to the NK Hurst company’s web site to check it out before linking it above, I discovered that they’re located right next to the Indianapolis Colts’ new stadium, and they’re involved in an eminent domain dispute over their property. The developers of the stadium want to force them to move to make way for parking spaces, and the company doesn’t want to do it and says the spaces can be placed on other nearby property.