I’ve been cooking and freezing soups and stews for 45 years. This hearty, wholesome soup is one of my wife’s favorites. The way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach, too.
- 2 pounds dried navy beans
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 smoked ham hocks
- 1 tablespoon marinade for chicken
- 12 orange peel strips (1 to 3 inches)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups cubed fully cooked ham
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- Sort beans and rinse with cold water. Place in a stockpot; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1-4 hours or until beans are softened.
- Drain and rinse beans; discard liquid and set beans aside. In the same pan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add carrots; saute 4-5 minutes longer.
- Add the ham hocks, marinade for chicken, orange peel, salt, thyme, bay leaves, beans and enough water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender.
- Remove ham hocks; when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Discard bones and cut meat into cubes; return to the soup. Add the additional ham, tomatoes and vinegar; heat through. Discard bay leaves and orange peel before serving. Yield: 27 servings (6-3/4 quarts).
Originally published as Sportsman's Bean Soup in Country Extra November 2008, p51
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