Winter cheer

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    Stormy seas and biting temperatures all seem but forgotten when arriving home to a hearty bowl of bean soup. This used to be a staple in West Coast homes when the fish weren’t running and money was scarce. It tastes even better when made the day before.

    Ingredients: 500 gm dried sugar beans; 1 kg soup bones; 1 kg beef shin/neck (or a meaty ham bone/2 smoked ham hocks); 1 L cold water; 1 large chopped onion; 2 cubed tomatoes; 5 diced celery stalks; 4 large shredded carrots; 1 turnip; salt; 1/2 tsp pepper; 1/2 tsp dried thyme; 1 can tomato puree; 2 Tbsp brown sugar.

    Method: Soak beans overnight. Wash soup bones & meat and place in large saucepan. Add tomatoes & all vegetables except the celery to the meat. Drain and pick over the beans, add to the meat, followed by the water. Heat to boiling point. Add tomato paste, chopped celery, brown sugar & a kettleful of boiling water. Each time the mixture comes to the boil, add boiling water as required – ±4 times. After about 3 hrs when soup is thick, add salt & pepper. (If you’ve used the ham, remove bone, cool and trim meat from the bone. Add to soup.)

    Thick slices of fresh bread are compulsory with this wholesome broth! And a glass of red on the side won’t hurt either.