|Northeast Hearty Bean Soup|
With the recent snows and cold snaps we've been experiencing in upstate New York the past couple of weeks, soup, and especially hearty and filling soups have been on my mind.
I finally settled on making my hearty bean soup when I saw a huge bag of great northern beans staring at me in Aldi last week. I know many swear by navy beans, but I've always been partial to great northern. They're large and, well, beany.
I have been making this soup for so long I forget exactly when I came up with this recipe. Usually I made this after having leftover bone-in ham, but it's not necessary. You can always use chunk ham and even kielbasa. Try both. I did that this time and the flavor is superb.
This soup was always made by a pinch of this and a poke of that, but I did take note of all my pinches and pokes and wrote down the measurements and amounts this time.
I added no additional seasoning, as it was fine for my taste. I do suggest you taste this before you serve and correct the seasonings if you feel it needs any correction. Firmly resist the urge to add salt, etc. before it is done. The very long cooking will draw out the flavors of all ingredients, including the salt in the ham and the sausage. I also cheated and started out with 1 package, portion, whatever you call that little tub thing, of Knorr vegetable stock (which is seasoned). If you do have a leftover meaty ham bone, forego the vegetable stock and just use the ham bone and 4 cups of water.
Serve this with a crusty roll and it's a meal--and then some.
Northeast Hearty Bean Soup
- 2 cups great northern beans, plus water to cover to soak
- 3 carrots sliced thickly
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 1/2 tsp OR about 5 large fresh basil leaves
- about 3 or 4 bunches celery leaves
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 cup diced kielbasa (Polish sausage or smoked sausage)
- 1 cup cubed smoked ham
- 4 cups vegetable stock
Cover beans with water. Soak overnight. Drain beans.
Add beans to 5 quart slow cooker. Add all other ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours. Reduce slow cooker heat to LOW and cook for 10-12 hours or until beans are very soft and soup looks thick and stew-like.