Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's Fall • It's Winter • It's Soup Time!

I love this time of year if only to bring out my soup recipes and fill the house with the rich aroma of hearty soups. I love making soups - they're so nutritious, filling and the taste buds spring into action with each spoon full.  I make my soups in the crock pot - it's easy and dinner is waiting for you when you're ready to sit down for your evening meal.  Here's a 15 bean soup recipe that is a family favorite (I've tweaked my recipe from my mother-in-laws original).

2 Cups dried 15 multiple beans: SOAKED OVERNIGHT. Rinse and drain well
  (these are easy to find in most markets)
2 smoked ham hocks
  **if there isn't much meat on the ham hocks (there usually is enough) I'll add 1 Cup of chopped ham
1 chopped onion
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1-2 carrots - chopped fine
2 stalks of celery - chopped fine
1 T Worcheshire sauce
a few dashes of Tabasco sauce
1 bay leaf
3-4 T ketchup
cracked pepper
2 cans beef broth
water to cover ingredients if needed

Put everything into the crock pot on HI for 3-4 hours* and reduce to LOW for 5-6 hours* until the beans are tender and done.  I will cook the soup for a total of 9-10 hours. When soup is ready, take the ham hocks out of the soup and cut the meat off the bones to add back into the soup.
* Every crock pot's settings and temperatures are different - use your own judgement on temperatures and cooking time. Just note that dried beans can take a long time to cook through.

If made on the stove top - bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer until beans are cooked.
Serves 4 large bowls of soup

Crusty bread or rolls to soak up the soup's gravy and dinner is ready!

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