This "15 Bean and Ham Soup" is just full of good flavor! This is a soup that is not only very tasty, but it's also very filling and good for you. Beans are full of fiber, antioxidants and protein! Some of you might have seen the bag of '15 Bean Soup mix' in your grocery store along with the other beans, but never really knew what to do with them. It is an odd assortment of beans, some of which you might never have even heard of. However, when you cook them long and slow in a soup along with other seasonings, they all sort of take on the those flavors and taste wonderful.
Here is what you will need for this delicious soup:
1 pkg. 15 bean soup mix, with ham flavoring packet
1 (15 oz. ) can diced tomatoes
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
8 cups water
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 Knorr Chicken bullion cubes
1 Tbs. bacon drippings
dash of Tabasco sauce to taste (optional)
2 cups diced country ham or regular cooked ham
For those not familiar, this is what a 15 Bean Soup Mix looks like, make sure it has the seasoning packet! This is an odd brand, because I bought it at a farmers market sort of place, but you can buy any brand at your grocery.
Place the beans in a colander and rinse them well. Pick through for any rocks, occasionally dried beans have a rock or two in them. Buy the best grade of beans and they are less likely to have rocks and dirt in them. Place them in a large soup pot and cover with water about an inch over the beans. Place on the stove on medium high heat and cover. Bring to a boil and boil for about 1 minute or two. Turn off, and carefully pour back in your colander to drain. This serves two purposes. It's a good way to make sure the beans are very clean and it takes some of the undesirable side effects of beans out of the mix...so to speak...lol! When you mix 15 kinds of beans up in one soup, it's a good idea!!!
Place the beans back in the pot with all of the ingredients except the diced ham. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat to medium low and cook covered for about 2 hours. Check them periodically to be sure they have enough water.
After 2 hours, stir and add the chopped ham. I used country ham, because it makes all things better. It's a Kentucky thing! I know country ham is not available for many of you and any good cooked ham will work also. The country ham is very salty so I didn't need any additional salt, if you use regular ham, taste for seasoning before serving and you might want to add some salt.
Return to a medium low heat and cook for an additional 2 hours or until the beans are all tender and the broth is thickened slightly. The longer you cook, the thicker the broth will be. This is really good served with Cornbread Hoe Cakes, Aunt Vel's Sour Cream Cornbread, or Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread!
***Slow Cooker Directions: Layer the beans, onion, celery, seasonings, tomatoes, and 7 cups of water in a slow cooker. Layer the ham on top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir and turn the heat to high and cook for an additional hour or two to thicken. This method does not produce a soup that thickens as much as the stove top method, but it still tastes wonderful and it's nice to come home to after a long day!