I distracted myself from stressing about the Kavenaugh hearings and did some cooking today. Joe was smoking turkeys in preparation for Friendsgiving, so I decided to smoke some beans for soup.* We've smoked chick peas for hummus before, but had never tried doing it to white beans. I cooked a pound of dry beans in the pressure cooker, then we put them on a cookie sheet with a few cloves of garlic and put them on the smoker for about two hours. They dried out slightly and picked up a nice smoky flavor. Then I cooked them up into bean soup with an onion, some carrots, bacon and kielbasa. Totally coincidentally, it's essentially a smoked version of Senate Bean Soup, which is a basic bean soup made with ham hocks.
It came out really well - way too good for at least half the Senate. The smoke flavor really improved it, even though I didn't use a ham hock or pre-made broth. You could probably use a few drops of Liquid Smoke or some smoked paprika to approximate the flavor.
Too Good for Half the Senate Smoked Bean Soup
1 lb dry white beans, soaked and cooked and drained (or 4 15 oz cans, reserve liquid for soup)
1 qt water, broth or liquid from cooking beans or reserved from canned beans
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 oz bacon
1 lb kielbasa or smoked sausage, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp vinegar
salt and pepper
To smoke the beans, put them on a cookie sheet and put the sheet on a smoker for two hours or so, stirring occasionally, until they pick up a nice smokey flavor.
In a large dutch over, fry the bacon. Remove the bacon, chop and set aside. Saute the onions and carrots in the bacon grease until they are slightly browned. Add the sausage, garlic and reserved bacon and saute. Add the water, broth, or bean liquid and the smoked beans. Cook until soup has thickened and carrots have softened. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add vinegar to brighten the flavor.
Quick version: Use 4 cans white beans and carefully add a little bit of Liquid Smoke or smoked paprika.
* We were originally going to smoke chick peas, but didn't have any so I decided to experiment.