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Shell Bean Soup

Shell Bean Soup
Jessica Strelitz for NPR

For my lactose-intolerant brethren, this requires at least twice the normal medication for a small but satisfying serving. Whole milk is preferable, and the bacon and green stuff are optional but add richness. Serve with whole-grain bread, salted tomatoes and fresh corn for a light supper.

Makes 6 appetizer servings

4 strips bacon, diced (optional)

1 scallion, diced (optional)

4 cups milk (2 percent is fine)

1 1/2 cups fresh shell beans, any kind

Salt and pepper to taste

If using bacon, fry with most of the onion in medium pot. Set aside and drain. If you don't use bacon but do use onion, cook the onion in a little butter until soft and set aside. Add milk to the same pot and simmer fresh beans for 20 to 30 minutes, being careful not to boil the milk. If it does boil, skim the milk skin from the top and discard.

After 20 minutes, check beans to see if they are cooked. They shouldn't be mushy, but give a little when you bite into them. Add the bacon and onions if you are including them. Liberally salt and pepper. Serve hot with remainder of uncooked onion for garnish.

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