What a weird winter this is turning out to be. Last weekend we had temperatures in the 70’s. The 70’s, y’all. In January. We do have mild winters here in Georgia, but 70’s in early January…that’s just strange. It was so warm on Sunday that BeeBop and Uncle J went gem hunting. In short sleeves. They had a great time and brought back some fantastic gems including a huge amethyst. I see a bracelet in my future :-)
So after a nice, warm January weekend, now it’s raining. Gray, gloomy, overcast, drizzly. Perfect for ducks…nasty for the rest of us. Even our little shih tzu Lucy just sticks her nose out the garage and sniffs disgustedly at this weather.
Days like today just beg for a pot of soup bubbling away on the stove. I enjoy soup all year, but especially in the winter. It’s warm. It’s nourishing. It’s comforting. And it’s usually budget-friendly. And who doesn’t need budget friendly meals right after Christmas?
One of my favorite ingredients to use in soup is dried beans. Talk about economical! When you compare dried beans to canned, the dried are about 1/3 the cost. And they’re little powerhouses of nutrition, too. They’re just full of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and important vitamins and minerals. Beans help maintain and promote muscle and provide a great energy source.
My favorite brand of dried beans, and the one I find easily at every grocery store, is HamBeens® from the N. K. Hurst company. I know you’ve seen them in your store, too. They have many, many different varieties including the Great Northerns with Ham Flavor® that I used in this recipe.
The package of HamBeens® Great Northern beans comes with a ham flavoring packet included. Remove the packet and set it aside to use later in the recipe. Rinse the beans and remove any that are broken or discolored. I never find many imperfect beans in a package – maybe two or three. Place the dried beans in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and add enough water to come at least 2” above the top of the beans. Bring the beans to a rolling boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for one hour. Do not drain.
After an hour, place the beans and water back over high heat. Add the red onion, celery, garlic, herbs, pepper, ham, turnip greens, and red pepper to the pot and bring it all to a boil.
Now, I used a tablespoon of herbes de Provence in my recipe because I just love that combination. It gave my soup just a little French flair. Then, of course, the Southerner in me came out and poured in a whole bag full of turnip greens. However, if you don’t have herbes de Provence in your pantry, just add some thyme and a bay leaf. It’ll be just as good. Promise.
I used a half pound of diced ham available in the meat market at my grocery store. If you have leftover ham, this would be a great way to use it!
I also used a bag of the washed, cut turnip greens that are so convenient. Why not take some help from the grocery store once in a while, huh? They’re not much more expensive than the whole, fresh ones.
Cover the pot and reduce the heat so that the soup remains at a steady simmer, not too low, and cook for an additional hour or until the beans are tender. Add the salt and ham flavor packet near the end of the cooking time.
I used turnip greens in this recipe simply because they’re one of my favorites. They have a quite mild flavor when used in this soup, so if you prefer a more bold taste of greens you might want to use collard greens or kale. I’m guessing that even green cabbage would be good here as well. Just use any green leafy veggie that your family likes.
Ladle into individual serving bowls. Top each serving with diced fresh tomato and green onion.
Note: I am required by FTC rules to disclose that I will receive compensation from the N. K. Hurst Co. for this post. However, any opinions expressed in the post are strictly my own. Always have been. Always will be.
Other soup recipes featuring dried beans you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Cuban Black Bean Soup from The Kitchn
- Mixed Bean Soup from Taste of Home
- Roasted Garlic Lover’s White Bean Soup from Farmgirl Fare
- Basic Ham and Bean Soup from Allrecipes.com
- Hearty Navy Bean Soup from Cooking Light
- Cannellini Bean Soup from Martha Stewart Living
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Lemon Bars
- Two years ago: Southern Fried Quail
- Three years ago: Toffee Bars (a.k.a. Redneck Toffee)