15 Bean & Ham Soup
If there is a chill in the air or, more likely, a leftover ham that has been relatively picked over, I am making 15 Bean & Ham Soup. More of a brothy soup than the classic Navy Bean Soup. It is definitely a favorite, as with most soups, it's even tastier the next day, and it freezes great. When I bake a ham, it is standard procedure to stash some away to add to the soup.
This is a relatively low maintenance soup to create, as long as you remember to soak the beans overnight. If you forgot and have 6-8 hours, you can prep the beans before making the soup that day. Luckily, this soup only needs a few hours to cook. A side note about the beans that I use pictured below, yes I forgot to get a snap before opening. Inside the bag is a packet of Ham Flavoring. I've no idea what it is made of or use it. Your call if your beans come with a flavoring packet to toss or use it.
While the soup is simmering, it is a great time to make some bread, this pairs nicely with some fresh crusty bread.
The flavor punch come from the 'Cooking Trinity', onion, celery, and red pepper. The Trinity is the flavor base of so many dishes, soups, and sauces. If you wanted to use green pepper, that works too. One other note, do not leave the bay leaves in the soup. Bay leaves impart great flavor, but their essence will start to overpower if you don't take them out.
15 Bean & Ham Soup
1 Bag 15 bean mix (discard ham flavoring) - require an overnight soak
2 Tbl Olive Oil
3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 large red pepper, diced
2 medium onions diced
1/2 cup parsley, minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 ham bone, picked relatively clean
1-2 cups diced ham
15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 -3 quarts of water
Rinse beans, then put in a stockpot large enough for the beans to expand, cover with at least 2 inches of water. I usually use the stockpot I will make the soup in. Leave to soak overnight.
Drain and rinse beans, set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large stockpot on medium-high. Add the celery, red pepper, onion, and parsley, cook until just softened. Add oregano, thyme, marjoram, and pepper, cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and diced ham, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in beans and tomatoes. Nestle the ham bone in the bottom of the pot. Add the bay leaves, then start with 2 quarts of water. Depending on the pot size, you may need up to 3 quarts to cover the ingredients and create a good broth ratio.
Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for at least 2 hours, just until the beans are done. Remove the bone, pull off the last bits of ham, and discard the bone. Be sure to remove all pieces of bone and the bay leaves from the soup. This will keep for a few days nicely, and also freezes well. Enjoy.