One of the thriftiest meals on the planet has to be Bean Soup. Toss in some leftover ham, and you have bonus protein and flavor. Some have even called similar mixtures “Depression Soup”, to commemorate how many families during the Great Depression stretched pennies over several meals.
This particular recipe is a favorite, especially of my husband’s. It was given to me by a friend of mine many years ago. I try to always have a bag or two of dried beans in the cabinet, and this recipe is a tasty way to use them! You do need to plan a day ahead for this meal.
Ham and Bean Soup
2 cups of dried beans, any variety (I use 15 bean, but you can use anything)
8 cups of cold water
1/2 tsp baking soda
First, you’ll need to add the beans to a large stock pot and cover them with the water. Stir in the baking soda. This will need to soak overnight.
The next day, completely drain off the soaking water and rinse the beans well. Return beans to the pan and add:
8 cups of water
1 lb. leftover ham (or smoked sausage, ham hocks, whatever you have on hand)
1 large onion, chopped
1 14.5-oz can of peeled tomatoes (I use diced)
Bring this to a FULL boil. Turn heat down to medium for a high simmer, 2-3 hours, or until beans are tender.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper
Simmer for another 30 minutes. Enjoy!
These feeds our family of 6 comfortably. :)
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