It’s been cold outside. It actually snowed here in the desert. SNOW!!! At my house it melted before it actually hit the ground. However, it was lovely to watch the white flakes drift through the air.
There is nothing like a hearty bowl of ham and bean soup to warm up the insides. The smell of it wafting through the house was incredible. I love a pot of bubbling soup on the stove to make the house feel all warm and cozy.
This is a very simple recipe with lot of flavor. You can change it up however you want — add a couple of cloves of garlic and some jalapeno to make it spicier or smoke it up with some paprika. It’s really up to you. You can use whatever veggies you have in the fridge too.
Here is what I did — I had some leftover ham, some colorful mini pepper, some carrots and an onion. Usually, I use celery in my soups but I figured the sweetness of the carrots and peppers would be a nice compliment to the salty taste of the ham. So, I omitted it. Beans are a pantry staple in my house. I love to make refried beans, or chili or split pea soup or curried lentils…yum. Pinto beans were chosen because I had a lot of them and I love their smooth texture
The ham, veggies, beans and tomato sauce were thrown into a pot. Then I added enough water to cover the beans – around 2-3 inches. The key to make a good pot of soup is layers of flavor. The way I do it is I season when I first start cooking the soup. Then at the end, when I turned off the heat, I re-season to taste. The other trick is to wait…
Yes wait…Put the soup on low heat and let it simmer. Let the smell of ham and beans permeate the house. Give your soup at least two or three hours to turn into a hearty, flavorful meal. Serve with warm cornbread or sprinkle some cheese on top and dollop with sour cream if you want to be a little bit decadent. Enjoy!
Hearty Ham and Bean Soup
(This is a base recipe. Feel free to add any vegetables or seasonings you want.)
1 lb of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
5-6 mini peppers, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
leftover ham, chopped (add as much or as little as you like)
2-3 bay leaves
vegetable seasoning (to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)
ground pepper (to taste)
Throw all ingredients into a pot. Add enough water so that the beans are at least 2-3 inches covered. Set your stove to low heat and season the water to your taste. Put a lid on the pot and let soup simmer. Stir the beans every 20-30 minutes. Add more water if the soup thickens to much. Repeat this process until the beans are soft and tender. Turn off the stove. Season the soup again to your taste. Enjoy!