Prep 15 mins
Cook 2 hrs
- 3 cups beans (great northern, pinto, black, navy, lentils - any or all)
- 3 ham hocks
- 8 ounces chopped kielbasa (, or other sausage, if you love meat)
- 10 cups water (vegetable, chicken, or beef) or 10 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef)
- 2 medium chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 (28 ounce) can Italian tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 -2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sage or 2 tablespoons basil or 2 tablespoons parsley or 2 tablespoons oregano (or any combination of those herbs)
- freshly squeezed, lemon, juice of
- If you've got time, cover beans with water and soak, covered, overnight.
- Otherwise, cover beans with water and bring to a boil for a few minutes, then bring the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes or so.
- Drain (this helps cut down on any, uh, gas issues).
- Cover again with water, stock, or a combination.
- Add ham hocks and bring heat back to medium.
- Simmer for an hour or until beans are softened and meat is coming off the bones.
- Add water or stock as needed throughout cooking process.
- Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool.
- Add onions, tomatoes (with juice), garlic, spice, salt and sausage (if desired).
- Remove meat from ham hocks, shred into small pieces, and add to soup.
- Continue to simmer until beans are very soft.
- and tomatoes have broken down.
- Add lemon juice.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with crusty, rustic bread and a green salad.
This recipe is so delicious! Plus, it's quite adaptable, too. I used a ham bone instead of ham hocks and I only had a 14 ounce can of tomatoes. The soup had plenty of hammy and tomato flavor. I also omitted the cayenne and I added just a pinch of red pepper flakes and it was still a bit spicy (I imagine with a whole tablespoon of flakes plus the cayenne, this soup would be quite blistering!). It should be noted step 11 (continue simmer until beans are soft) took over another hour - like an additional hour and 20 minutes. Even with the overnight soak and almost 3 hours of cooking, this soup is so worth it!
I added 1 med. chopped onion and 1 stalk chopped celery, that I cooked until tender before adding it to the soup.
Mine didn't look anything like the photo...I was expecting a thick ham and bean soup and ended up with what I would consider more of a minestrone without the pasta. Having said that,I used turkey kielbasa and followed the recipe exactly. Tasty but not what I was looking for. Next time I want minestrone I'll make this.