I love a hearty bean soup in the winter. So on the spur of the moment at the grocery store, I grabbed one of those ubiquitous 15-bean soup bags.
Ham was on sale, so into the cart it also went.
And having recently made a huge batch of Smokey Grit Chili for a friend, I knew that the adding carrot, celery, and onion added at the end of cooking really makes a difference.
So off I went to create a better bean soup, using the techniques from the Smokey Grit Chili
First up – research. I wanted to quickly learn how a good bean soup is typically made. But I had a couple of caveats: there’s no ham bone, no ham hocks, no milk or other dairy. And minimal tomato. All these things (save the ham bone/hocks which I didn’t have in the house) tend to precipitate uncomfortable tummy reactions… Err, mostly heartburn.
The original recipe at the Hurst Beans website calls for ham hocks, a cup of onion, diced tomatoes, chili powder, lemon, garlic, and a lot of water. Hmm, not quite enough spice in there for me. Remember, my thing is spice, not heat. Nevertheless, I had all of these ingredients (sans ham hock) on hand.
This recipe at Art and the Kitchen also includes a ham bone. But it starts with traditional mirepoix of carrot, celery, onion, garlic. And finishes with parsley, and thyme. More in the direction I’m heading, but not quite.
And then I found this recipe at All Recipes. Now we’re talking. There’s still a ham bone. Bet I can get around that with some liquid smoke.
Overall, this is a delicious soup and freezes well. There are a lot of ingredients, but don’t be too frightened. I’ve learned that both the length of ingredients and length of preparation time tends to make for one spectacular soup.
- 1 package Hurst's HamBeens 15 Bean Soup dried beans
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons honey mustard
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 10 cups liquid or more as needed
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups carrot, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups ham, cooked and cubed
- 1 piece of dried kombu, about 2" x 1"
- Prepare beans using the quick soak method. Place in stockpot with water to cover, bring to a boil for two minutes. Cover and let sit at least two hours. Drain, and return to pot.
- Cook beans in the same stockpot. Cover with 10 cups chicken broth (have more on hand if needed.) Add in 1 cup chopped onion, and all spices listed: chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, honey, honey mustard, bay leaves, dried parsley, liquid smoke. Simmer for an hour.
- At that one hour mark, add in the remaining ingredients and simmer until beans are tender. Your house will be filled with delicious soup smells, so go ahead and dive in when you can't hold yourself back.