Amish Church Soup Makes a Simple Lenten Supper

In our family, we observe the season of Lent by abstaining from meat on Fridays, but also on many other days. In fact, my husband and I decided to give up meat completely this year, as both a spiritual exercise and for health reasons. So when I came across this simple soup recipe, I was intrigued. A little searching led me to the following information.

It seems at many local Amish church services – which can last up to a three hours, I’m told – this soup is served afterward to babies and toddlers. It’s called “baby soup.” I can imagine why the little ones (and their mothers) must love it: it’s warm, filling and comforting and uses incredibly simple ingredients. Other sources told me the soup used to be served to everyone after Amish church, with large bowls set upon tables and several people eating from one bowl. (Today, a typical after-church meal consists of homemade bread with peanut butter spread, ham, cheese, red beets, pickles and of course, pies. We’ll talk about all THAT after Lent is over!)

Whatever the history of this soup, simple ingredients, simple preparation and a simple meal go a long way in helping us appreciate our blessings as a family. And that’s something I think the Amish understand well.

Amish Church Soup/ Simple Lenten Soupwhite beans

  • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3 cups cooked navy beans
  • 4 cups milk
  • homemade or whole wheat store-bought bread, cut into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large pot. Add chopped onion and saute until soft. Add beans and milk and stir to combine. Bring just to boiling. Ladle into bowls and add bread cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. (Serves 4)

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