~more recently updated recipes~
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! My friend Mary passed on Hurst's 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. (Read the comments below, it seems many of us throw away the seasoning packet.) The beans themselves are so creamy and flavorful, I didn't miss it. Mary substitutes Chef Paul's Vegetable Seasoning for the seasoning packet.
OLD BEANS You'd think that beans would keep but they don't! The trouble is, old beans just don't cook, you can cook them for hours and hours and they just never turn soft and creamy as they should. That's why, come fall, I look in my pantry and throw out any beans from the prior year. That's why, at the grocery, I won't let myself be tempted to "stock up". That's why, when choosing the grocery, I make sure the store has high turnover, so I know the beans are fresh.
2014 Update: Turns out, I turn to a package of Hurst's HamBeens again and again, for soup, for Ham & Beans and for just "plain" beans. I love the color, size and texture variation! Trader Joe's also has a dried bean mix that works well. For readers who have asked about which pantry spices to use, I'd recommend using the spices from this great recipe, Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup.
"Loved the soup without the spice packet." ~ Mahala
"This 15-bean soup is sooo good." ~ Anonymous
"You are right, the lemon seems to be key! Who knew?" ~ Anonymous
"Yum." ~ Juniper
Many ideas, recipe variations and recommendations in the comments below, be sure to check them out!
Time to table: 12 - 24 hours
Makes 11 cups
20 ounces assorted beans,
8 cups fresh water
1 big ham bone (or a couple of ham hocks or about 1 pound chopped 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 and cover with water. Add the ham bone (or whatever you're using) and onion. (The Hurst's 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.
TO CONTINUE ON STOVETOP. Reduce the 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.) Then add the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and lemon juice and let simmer for another 30 - 60 minutes.
TO CONTINUE IN OVEN. Transfer to a 200F oven for 2-1/2 hours. Then add the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and lemon juice and let simmer for another 30 - 60 minutes.
SLOW COOKER 15-BEAN SOUP Hurst says that this recipe works well in the slow cooker. They say to skip soaking the beans, then cooking the rinsed beans, ham bone, onion and seven cups water (not eight cups) in the slow cooker on high for five hours (or low for seven to eight hours) until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Then add the tomato, chili powder, lemon juice and garlic and cook for another 30 minutes. Here's more info.
Once you do, new recipes will be automatically delivered straight to your e-mail In Box.
MORE HEARTY BEAN SOUP RECIPES
~ Quick Green Chile Stew ~
~ Bean & Lacinto Kale Soup ~
~ Cabbage & White Bean Stew ~
~ more recipes with beans, lentils & legumes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Ham & Beans ~
~ At Last! Black Bean Soup ~
~ Lentil Soup Vincent ~
~ bean recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
© Copyright 2008 & 2014