Red Bean Soup

I’ve been predicting for years that our allegiance to red beans would result in its being served widely as a soup instead of as a main course. This has not come to pass. But I love a good red bean soup. I always order it when I run into it. And when I don’t, I make it myself.

The mystery ingredient here is summer savory–or just plain savory. It’s an herb related to oregano, and is known as the herb for beans. It’s not found in every supermarket spice rack, but it’s not impossible to find, either. If you can’t find it, use oregano, or just leave it out.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup finely slivered carrots
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp. summer savory
  • 1 quart beef or veal broth
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 6 cups cooked red beans (or 3 cans Blue Runner red beans, if you’re rushed)
  • 3/4 lb. andouille or smoked sausage, sliced as thin as you can
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 green onions, chopped

White bean and chorizo soup.

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it ripples, then add the carrots, celery, onions, and savory. Cook until the vegetables are tender.

2. Add the beef broth and return to a simmer.

3. Puree the red beans in a food processor, and add them to the pot.

4. Microwave the andouille on paper towels for one minute on high, to remove the excess fat. Add the andouille and cook for at least another ten minutes.

5. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce, and serve topped with chopped green onions for garnish.

Serves six to eight.

4 Readers Commented

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  1. Tom, this red bean soup appears to be so simple and yet so many flavors are involved, I’ll report back to you later this week on my success and its acceptance in my circle of friends!
    Your daily messages are a perfect link to my home town: the ‘nono’ in my email address ?
    Native Of New Orleans.
    keep it up…

    • Tom Fitzmorris on January 14, 2014

      This and hundreds of other bits of information about the New Orleans food scene are covered in the New Orleans Menu Daily, my report on restaurants, cooking, and food. If I told you that you can pay any amount you like for a subscription, would you consider subscribing?

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      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  2. Jess on November 24, 2015


    Something that’s always bothered me about this recipe is that you never indicate when to add the brandy. I usually add it after the vegetables have cooked a bit & let them simmer in it for a minute or two before I put the broth in. But because the brandy is listed after the broth in this recipe, I’m doubtful that I’m adding it at the right time. Not sure how much, if any, difference it makes when to add the brandy, as it’s always delicious soup, but I’d love to know what you do!


    • Tom Fitzmorris on November 27, 2015

      You go it right. It goes in as the sauce is to be simmered away. It really doesn’t make a lot of difference, as long as the brandy (or any alcoholic addition) is best added in the beginning.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris