As promised here is my recipe for Ham and Bean Soup.
You will need:
5 cups dried beans (this can be all one kind or an assortment)
Water (in which to soak the beans)
8 cups of water (for cooking)
Left over ham including ham bone (if you have it)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
Optional - 1-2 Tablespoons hot sauce
Step one: put your dried beans in a colander and pick out any discolored, cracked, or damaged beans. Also look out for any rocks or other foreign matter.
|I used 2 cups Great Northern Beans, 1 cup Navy Beans, 1 cup small red beans, and 1 cup black beans|
Step two: rinse off your beans. Remember beans are dried plant seeds. In many places they are dried out in the open field then dusted off for packaging. They usually have not been pre-rinsed before packaging because that would require another period of drying. Trust me, unless you grew and dried the beans yourself (which we do for some beans), rinse the beans off.
Let the soup cook a few hours. How long depends first on when the beans are cooked through and soft. How long also depends on whether you want the soup to have whole beans and a liquid broth, or if you want a thicker soup with the beans having melted to a velvet consistency. I go for the second option, cooking the beans until they fall apart because my family likes this texture from the soup better than the whole beans in broth. But there is no correct way.
Once the soup is done to your liking, remove the ham bones. For most hams there will be two bones. You may also find some other ham parts you want to remove as well. Add the hot sauce if using. If you do not want to use hot sauce but think the soup is a bit flat, add 1/4 apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, but add it one tablespoon at a time and taste between additions.
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