SLOW COOKER HAM AND BEAN SOUP

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Ingredients
  • 1 pound dry Great Northern or navy beans
  • Water, enough to cover dry beans by 2″ for overnight soak
  • 1 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional if desired (taste and season after cooking)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 meaty ham bone, (trimmed of excess fat and rinsed of any glaze)
  • 5 to 6 cups low sodium chicken broth (as needed)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. The evening before you want to cook the soup, rinse beans, remove any debris and place in a large pot. Cover with water by at least 2″ and soak beans overnight. They will more than double in size so choose your pot accordingly.
  2. The next day, drain and thoroughly rinse the soaked beans and transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  3. Layer the remaining ingredients through the ham bone in the slow cooker in the order listed. Add about 5 cups of chicken broth, or just enough to cover the beans and veggies. Reserve any remaining chicken broth for later. Tuck the bay leaves into the mixture, cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW and continue to cook for an additional 5 to 6 hours. Stir occasionally during cooking time. When beans are tender, remove ham bone to a cutting board and remove and discard the bay leaves. Ad add the tomato sauce, stirring to combine. If you’d like a creamier texture, transfer about 1/3 of the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Return puréed soup to slow cooker, adding more broth, only if needed, to reach desired consistency. Cover and continue to cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pull ham off the bone and chop into small pieces. Return chopped ham to the slow cooker and discard ham bone. Stir in chopped parsley. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
Notes
Quick Soak Method:

If you’d prefer to soak and cook your beans on the same day, use this method. Place beans in a large pot and cover with two to three inches of cool water. Bring to a boil and keep at a high simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain beans and continue with recipe.

Reheating:

Soup will thicken quite a bit when refrigerated so thin it out with a bit of water or chicken broth when reheating.

Please note that prep time does not include time to soak the beans.

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