What? Like you don't have a can of rutabagas in your pantry?! I've had mine for, I dunno, nearly a year. That's how long it's been since The Editor came and spent any decent length of time here in The Sticks, and he bestowed the can on me after finding it in a grab-bag he bought at the local grocer. (I'm lying. He's been here since then, but it was during that extra-special long trip that the grab-bag buy went down. I just have to get my digs in sometimes.) The brown paper bag held the can of rutabagas and another of boiled peanuts (still unused), some shampoo, a jar of creamed lamb baby food, and one of those air fresheners you hang from the car's rearview mirror.
I've never eaten rutabagas, as I recall.
Comes that time in life when the pickin's are damned slim. No problem with clutter in this kitchen pantry or fridge, no way! But what's left in there can be kinda odd. Pretty close to trying to find a way to dilute and drink condensed milk. Also, forgive me if I'm whining about this again, but I have yet to replenish my house's propane tank, so I'm doing as much cooking as I can with electricity, which means toaster oven and crockpot. But before I go baking the canned milk -- I have several bags of dry beans. Perfect for one-dish meals in the crockpot that will last a few days (which is just fine if you live by yourself and hardly ever go out in public). And my all-time favorite legumes are what we call "butter beans", which for the uninitiated are just large limas. And they're not cooked with butter, at least not in my world.
Now I never follow a recipe for butter beans, and I make two versions: vegetarian and not. The difference is in the herbs used and that one has meat. Since this is waist-cinching time, it shouldn't surprise you that I made the veggie style this time. Only THIS time, I dolled it up. After all, woman does not live on beans alone.
In the final tasting, I think this would be several times better with bacon. But that's not what I had, so this is what I made:
Butter Bean and Canned Veggies Soup
about a pound of large dry lima beans
enough water to cover
1 tbsp rosemary, crushed
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp caraway seeds
a handful of chives snipped from the garden
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cans of whatever vegetables you got
salt and pepper to taste
Do what you will with your dry beans. If you don't already know how to do 'em, it involves a long soak in lots of water. Read the package. Or if they're not in a printed package, do this -- you have two options: fast soak or overnight. Overnight is, well, overnight, but really you can do it during the day, too, if you have about eight hours to spare. I'm pretty sure there's nothing special about the night time that softens 'em better. I almost always do the fast soak, which goes like this: Put at least twice the amount of water over your beans in a pot with a lid. Bring it to boil and turn it off, then let it rest, without taking the lid off, for about 90 minutes.
So once you've done your soaking, put the beans in a crockpot. For a pound of beans I use about two quarts of water. Add all of the herbs and the chives, cover and cook on high for four hours.
After four hours, add your chives and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 90 minutes more. Then add your vegetables -- I had half a can of green beans left over from the night before, and the whole can of rutabagas. Dumped 'em all in there, including the water they were canned in, for added nutrition. And salt.
It was pretty tasty, especially served with bread and butter and a couple of boiled eggs on the side. Like I said, a little bacon would've made it perfect. But I'll have to catch that pork after my next paycheck.