With a cold rain falling outside and the wind whipping the remaining leaves around, it is just the kind of day when I like to make soup. A big pot of warming soup and some biscuits to go with it. Oh, I can’t wait for dinner! So I had better get started.
When made with dried beans as this soup is, it shortens the cooking time if you precook the beans and let them soak in the hot liquid for about an hour before actually making the soup. Once you get the beans, broth, and seasonings going you can go on to other things and let the wonderful aroma fill your kitchen until it’s time to add the tomatoes and chili.
A one-pot meal will be waiting for you whenever you want it. This is a good meal for when family members are coming and going, eating at different times. Keep it warm on the back burner and let everyone ladle out their serving as needed.
Since the recipe for this soup makes a large quantity, I made only half the recipe and at step #3 where tomatoes are added, I also added the leftover sauce from my Omelette with Bacon Ham and Beans. It was a good way to use up the extra sauce, and it rounded out the soup with some extra vegetables. I made the recipe as it is given here on many occasions and we always love it. Men in particular will find this to be very spicy, hearty and filling. Someone in my family once said it was the best soup he ever had. I’m looking at you, Steve.
MEXICAN HAM AND BEAN SOUP
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 pound dried pinto beans ( or navy beans)
- 8 cups fat-free less-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups cubed smoked ham steak (about 8 ounces)
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 packets Sazon Goya (optional), but good
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 chipotle chile ( or dried ancho or pasilla chile)
- 1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1. Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven or soup kettle. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans, bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain.
2. In the same pan, combine beans, broth, and next 8 ingredients (broth through garlic); bring to a boil. Partially cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
3. Stir in tomatoes and chile, simmer 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and chile. Ladle soup into bowl. Top with cheese, sprinkle with cilantro.
If there is any left over, it seems to taste even better the second time around when flavors have had even more time to meld.
SOURCE: an old recipe from my recipe box