I’m sitting here this morning watching the last leaves on the trees fall on a damp, misty, foggy landscape. Not a hint of sunshine. It’s one of those mornings that proclaims loud and clear that winter is on its way. Although fall and winter are not my favorite seasons, I do have to admit that days like today can be quite cozy. Especially if you can stay indoors. If there’s a fire in the fireplace it’s even better. All snuggly, warm and secure. The only thing you need to make a dreary day perfect is a great bowl of soup.
I have a really old-fashioned soup for you today – 15 Bean Soup. Now, don’t think that you have to go out and buy fifteen types of dried beans. Nope. Just grab a package of mixed dried beans from the grocery store and you’re good to go. Look for this bean mixture with the other dried beans and lentils in your store. They’re usually near the rice. The brand I see most often is called HamBeens.
I think the beans are just beautiful! Such a pretty mixture of colors and sizes. Everything from huge dried lima beans to little tiny split peas and lentils. Just pour all the beans into a soup pot, cover them with water and let them soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. I usually do them right before bed and they’re ready to go whenever I want them the next day.
After the beans have had a nice, long soak, drain the water and return the beans to the pot. You can see in the photo how the soaked beans on the left look a bit cloudy, even muddy, after they’ve been sitting in water. The beans on the right have been drained and are all re-hydrated and ready to cook. One extra step that I do at this point is to pull the outer skins off the big lima beans and discard them. You don’t have to do that, but it makes for a nicer finished soup. Just another little quirk of mine.
See those gnarly looking things above? If you’re a Southerner you know exactly what those are. They’re smoked ham hocks and they’re like gold to a southern cook. We use them in pretty much anything that needs some flavoring. Like this soup. However, if you can’t get your hands on any ham hocks, you can also use a leftover ham bone or even smoked turkey wings. If none of those are within your reach, add some sliced smoked sausage for the last 30 minutes of cooking time. Better than nothing :-)
Now add the ham hocks, one quart of water, and chicken broth to the pot with the beans. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Add all the remaining ingredients except lemon juice. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or more until all the vegetables and beans are tender. Note: You can also remove the ham hocks at this point and add some sliced kielbasa or other sausage to the pot for the final cooking time.
Just before serving, add lemon juice. Serve with garlic bread, cornbread, or crackers.
Other bean soup recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:
- The Famous Senate Bean Soup from The U. S. Senate
- Roasted Garlic Lover’s White Bean Soup from Farmgirl Fare
- White Bean Soup with Ham and Rosemary from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Black Bean Soup from The Novice Chef
- Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup from A Year of Slow Cooking
- Greek Garbanzo Bean Soup from Mama’s Taverna
- 3 Easy Bean Soups in 30 Minutes or Less from Serious Eats
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Gingerbread Apple Cobbler
- Two years ago: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Three years ago: Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Brittle