Sixteen Bean Soup
When you are perusing the selection of dried beans, peas and lentils at your local market, you may happen upon a 1 lb bag with a mixture of different beans. On a recent trip to the store I, the Dad, saw a package of 16 Bean Soup Mix. I thought Spark would think it was fun so I bought one. Here is how we prepared the soup.
First rinse and check the beans for any foreign materials (i.e. sticks and stones). You can soak the beans in 8 c. water overnight then drain and rinse and they are ready to use. For a quicker method add the beans to 8 c. water heat and boil for 2 minutes, removed from heat, cover and let stand for one hour. Drain and rinse.
Dice and saute, in 2 tbs olive oil, 1/2 c. each carrots, celery and onions. Cook until onions just begin to change color and the mixture becomes fragrant. Add six c. water, heat to boiling, then simmer for 1-1/2 to two hours. The bean soup mix comes with a packet of "ham flavoring". Rather than using the packet we put a half of a smoked ham shank* in the pot with the water and beans. Before serving, remove the ham shank and cut off the meat. Cut the meat into appropriately sized chunks and return to the pot. Serve hot by itself or with crusty a whole wheat bread.
*You can find smoked ham shank in the meat counter by the bacon. If you don't see any, ask the meat cutter. At some stores the shanks are in the cooler or freezer behind the counter.