Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bean Soup

This is a soup that my mom made a lot when I was growing up and I love it. It is such a comfort food for me! Unfortunately, Eric is not fond of beans so I don't get to make this soup very often. But every once in a while I just do it anyway - and Eric is so good - he never complains. So here it is:

1/4 cup of each of the following:
black eyed peas
pinto beans
navy beans
small lima beans
great northern beans
butter beans or large limas
pearl barley
split green peas
red beans

Wash beans thoroughly, place in large container, cover with water and add 2 tablespoons salt. Soak overnight. In the morning, drain, add 2 quarts of water and about 1/2 lb ham or ham hocks. Bring to boil. Stir often. Simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Then add:
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 large can tomatoes (29 oz)
juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer another 30 minutes. Serves 12 generously.

My variations:
Note the serving size - half the recipe for a smaller serving size.
I bought a bean mix in the bulk section at Winco - very cheap and it doesn't have all the same exact beans as the recipe but it's close enough - you can pretty much use whatever you want.
My mom always used ham hocks in the recipe - I prefer it with actual ham. I found a half ham on sale at Winco and for dinner last night we had ham and potatoes - then I packaged up the rest of the ham (3 meals worth) and put it in the freezer, I pulled off what was left on the bone and put it in my soup along with the bone. I'll pull the bone out when I am ready to serve the soup.
I use onion powder instead of an onion
This can also be done in the crock pot - soak the beans overnight - in the morning put them in the crock pot on high with the ham and water. After about 2 hours, turn down to low and add the other ingredients. I don't think it is possible to overcook - mine has been in the crockpot all afternoon and it looks and smells wonderful. We'll dish it up when Eric gets home.


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