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My bean soup recipe has been evolving for almost two years now. I keep writing down the recipe as I create it and then losing it - which has lead to a bean soup recipe full of variance and options based on what you are in the mood for and what's in your fridge/pantry. As it continues to get rave reviews, I figured I would just create the recipe as is - a conglomeration of "choose your own adventure" style directions. Create and Enjoy!
- 3 cups beans (pinto, kidney, red or black)
- 2 -3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1⁄2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 -3 ham hocks
- 3 slices bacon, diced (optional)
- 2 -3 cups cooked ham, diced (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- Preparing the Beans The Night Before: Wash beans and remove any irregular beans and small stones. Soak the beans in 9-10 cups of water. Note: You can use any combination of large beans you like or have on hand. I prefer the pinto/kidney/black combination.
- Aromatics: Chop your onion, carrots and celery. Mince your garlic. If you are using bacon, chop this up now as well. In a large soup pot, saute the onions for a couple of minutes in canola oil on medium heat. After about two minutes, add the carrots, celery, garlic and bacon. Saute a few more minutes (3-5).
- Now It Becomes Soup: While the aromatics are sauteing, dump out the water from the beans, rinse them off again and remove any faulty beans you previously missed. They should have grown in size a great deal overnight. When the aromatics are ready, pour in the beans and add enough water to cover them. Add your ham hocks (fresh or defrosted) and add some garlic salt (2 Tbsp) to help season the broth. Stir everything up really good and let it cook on medium-high.
- Seasoning the Soup: Check on the soup every 20-30 minutes. About 40 minutes in, add the lemon juice, oregano, cayenne and pepper. Let it continue cooking until the beans are cooked all the way through.
- Finishing if off: When they are done, remove the ham hocks (they have done their flavorful work) and put them in a bowl. You can pull them apart to get the small amounts of meat in them, but I normally don't bother. This is when I add the chopped ham and give the soup a few more minuets to incorporate the already cooked meat. Take this time to taste the soup and add more spices or lemon juice. Serve with thick bread to soak up all of that goodness.