Healthier Soups/Gravies with Bean Flour!

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Healthier Soups/Gravies with Bean Flour!

Post  MarysBerries on Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:07 pm

I have to share here about the absolute best substitute for flour as a thickening agent! Great White Northern beans!

Country Beans by Rita Bingham, is another superb cookbook for the serious homemaker. Whether you want to sneak that extra bit of protein into soups and sauces, or if you’re trying to cater to special diets (gluten-free, lactose-free, for instance) this cookbook is a worthwhile purchase. My copy was given to me several months ago and I can only say I wish I’d had it 15 years ago when I first started keeping hearth and home!

After reading about the multiple uses for bean flour, I’ve had a blast experimenting. We recently purchased our own Nutri Mill brand wheat/corn/bean grinder. It's wonderful! I grind up organic Pinto beans for an excellent instant refried bean recipe (3/4 cup of this make-ahead mix whisked into 2.5 cups boiling water and voila, 2 cups worth of refried beans in minutes–which mixed with picante sauce and topped with melted cheese…mmmm–it’s so good!), Great White Northern bean flour for thickening gravies and soups a tablespoon at a time. Best part about it is you can’t taste the beans! My husband is ultra picky about his gravies, and even he is wowed by the fantastic roast beef gravy I make with the GWN bean flour!

For gravy: pour pan juices from the roast or chicken into a sauce pan (I usually have 3 cups pan juices), bring them to boiling and add 3 TB Great White Northern bean flour (1 TB per cup of liquid) whisking quickly to blend. Add more flour if you like your gravy a bit thicker. (I highly recommend Pampered Chef's mini-whippers--they work excellent for lump-free gravy) Let it simmer several minutes and serve! Tasty, smooth and a beautiful golden color...

I made a big pot of tomato soup to go with grilled cheese sandwiches the other day when we had friends over…none of the six children present were aware that they were eating beans with their soup. And the soup thickened up so nicely…I've thickened chicken soup/stew, beef stew, and cream of asparagus soup this way, all with fantastic results. I've passed along samples to my friends and they are all as excited as I am about this new, healthier way to incorporate protein into our family's diets.

Rita Bingham's cookbook has a variety of ways to use up beans, from chips to crackers to hearty bean soups (it’s not all about powdered beans!) to breads and salads, to sprouting beans and canning them, and how to incorporate them into breakfast foods, drinks and shakes.

Last but not least, here are some pluses about bean flour:

* bean flours are said to be easier to digest
* and implementing them into your cooking a little bit at a time helps your digestive system develop the enzymes needed to digest beans efficiently
* bean flour thickens in 1-3 minutes after adding it to hot soups and gravies
* beans are cheap, big nutritional bang for your buck
* no chemical additives, colorings, flavorings–a great whole foods choice
* beans are high in B vitamins, iron, and carbohydrates (these bean carbs are “working calories” which digest slowly and satisfy your hunger longer!)

Hope you give bean flour a whirl! Free samples available as of this writing. If you are local to the Emporia area, email me at richandmarys@ (no spaces) and we'll work a way out to get you some.

*note: when using a grain grinder with grinding stones to grind beans, run a cup of hard wheat berries through after every two cups of beans to clean the grinding stones. Not all grain mills use grinding stones, the Nutri Mill does not, but this is still a good rule of thumb to protect your investment!


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