15 Bean and Ham Soup

READY IN: 4hrs 30mins
SERVES: 8-10




  • Notes before you begin: Sort through your beans carefully and discard any small stones or debris, and any damaged beans. Rinse the beans with cool water. You have two options for preparing your beans before you cook them. You can either 1) soak them overnight in cold water, or 2) cover the beans with water, bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the beans and let rest for 70 minutes in the hot water. Drain the beans and add them to a large stock pot. Now your beans are ready to use.
  • To your stock pot and beans, add the ham bone, chopped ham, bacon bits, half the onion, half the celery, half the carrots, and enough broth to cover 2 inches over the beans. Season with Worcestershire sauce, Liquid Smoke, Dijon mustard, chili powder, bay leaves, pepper, parsley, rosemary.
  • Simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2.5 hours. Add more chicken broth as needed to keep beans covered.
  • Remove the ham bone. Add diced tomatoes and chillies, vegetable juice, and remaining vegetables. Continue to simmer for 1 hour. Add more broth as needed.
  • Add the seasoning packet that came with the dry beans. Add lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes while you make cornbread, rice, or other side dishes. Remove bay leaves before serving.
  • TIPS: It is important that you don't add acidic ingredients such as tomatoes or lemon juice until the end of the cooking process as noted above. Acid tends to affect cooking times and can make beans tough and chewy.
  • Beans contain a natural sugar called Riffanose that is not digestible by the human body and can cause excess gas. One way to cut down on the gas is to cook a large, peeled potato with your beans for at least one hour. I cut the potato in half and add it during the first hour of cooking. Be sure to take it out and discard it. Eating it can make you sick to your stomach, as the potato absorbs a large percentage of the Riffanose.
  • Finally, it's important to note that it takes several hours for the flavor of this soup to properly develop, so resist the urge to taste it until the last 30 minutes. Definitely do not add salt until the end because it tends to get saltier as the broth cooks out. If you find it to be too salty, add hot water. As with any soup or stew, the flavor is best the next day, so feel free to make ahead. This soup can be made in the crock pot, using a full 8 hours cooking time. It freezes well.