Please say I'm not the last cook on earth to know about the 15-bean soup recipe straight from the bag of beans. If so, oops, so sorry! But if Hurst's HamBeens are a new 'convenience product' for readers too, you'll be thanking me!
Many thanks to my friend Mary who passed on the 15-bean soup recipe tip while feeding ideas about how to use up pounds of leftover smoked ham. (Literally, pounds. At Christmas somehow the butcher sent me home with a 14-pound ham instead of the 7-pound ham ordered.) [Note to Vegetarians]
Along with a great recipe, the bean package includes northern, pinto, large lima, blackeye, garbanzo, baby lima, green split pea, kidney, cranberry, small white, pink, small red, yellow split pea, lentil, navy, white kidney and black beans. Whew. The big beans stay intact while the smaller ones and the lentils melt into this yummy creamy liquid. The bag also includes a seasoning packet but these are typically salty and filled artificial gunk so I threw it in the trash. The beans themselves are so creamy and flavorful, I didn't miss it. Mary uses Chef Paul's Vegetable Seasoning.
Time to table: 12 - 24 hours
Makes 11 cups
20 ounces assorted beans
1 big ham bone (my choice, but could use a couple of ham hocks or some sliced ham)
1 large onion, chopped
15 ounces canned diced tomato
1 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of a lemon (don't skip this)
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used a tablespoon from a jar)
SPICE PACKET - I ignored this
NIGHT BEFORE: Rinse the beans and pick out any dried beans. Cover with 2 quarts of water and leave to soak overnight. The beans will expand about 3X so be sure your pot is big enough. Drain the water.
DAY OF: Put the beans in a very large pot or Dutch oven. Cover with two quarts of new water. Add the ham bone (or whatever you're using) and onion. (The bag says to add the onion just a half hour before serving. To my taste, the onion was completely raw like that.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours. If a kind of scummy foam rises to the top, scrape it off with a slotted spoon and discard.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and lemon juice and let simmer for another 30 - 60 minutes. At this point, Mary some times adds a can of drained and rinsed beans.
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