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Ham & Bean Soup
Soups & Stews

This recipe, as so many others, is a result of a combination of recipes found either in books or on the Internet but customized to our tastes....it makes a lovely, rich soup, great for a crisp winter night's supper. Start this the night before unless you choose to use canned instead of dried beans.

1 cup dried pinto beans (or other beans of your choice)

6 cups rich chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2-3 pounds ham, bone-in
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrots
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 bay leaves

1 cup diced potatoes
pepper to taste (salt optional, but this will depend on the saltiness of your ham)
3/4 cup white wine

Optional ingredients:
1 cup diced tomatoes
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped green/red bell peppers
2 cups chopped greens (kale, etc)

Place the beans into 5-6 cups water and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute and then turn off the heat, letting them soak overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Combine the chicken broth, ham, celery, carrots, onions and bay leaves in large stockpot. Add soaked beans, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down to a medium simmer and cook for about 45 minutes or until beans are fully cooked (the length of time may depend on how old your dried beans are - the longer you've had them in your cupboard, the longer they'll take to cook). Remove ham bone with meat on it - take off meat and chop, putting the ham back into the soup.

At this point, add potatoes and any other vegetables you wish, plus the white wine. Bring to a simmer again and season to taste. Serve with warm tortillas or fresh bread.