It has been very cold in our area so soups have been high on my list. I was also digging through the freezer and remembered that I had saved a hunk of ham with a ham bone (from a giant ham steak that made two other meals earlier: Jambalaya and ham & eggs) and it needed to be used. Bean soup always comes to mind when I have a ham bone.
The 16 bean soup looked good and my Heart agreed.
Used 1/2 of the bag (approximately 1/2 lb) – of course, if you are going to use a mixed bean soup mix, it might be a good idea to look at the ingredients Before buying it – One ingredient is pearl barley and I can’t eat barley because of being gluten-free. (AND, on my side, the package says “16 BEAN soup” and barley is Not A Bean so… I’m just sayin’)
Make sure to pick through dry beans looking for “bad” beans and stones.
Covered the beans in water and set overnight. In the morning, in a colander, rinsed the beans and checked them one more time for stones, etc. Poured the cleaned beans into the slow cooker.
I don’t defrost the ham. Just set the hunk on top of the beans.
I had an idea for this version of the soup – instead of chopping up peppers, onions, etc., I just added in a whole container of store-made hot pico de gallo. Lazy but I thought the flavors might work and I needed to get in early.
Poured the hot salsa right on top of the ham and beans – pretty simple.
Topped with 32oz low sodium chicken broth and 2 tsp basil / thyme / onion powder / garlic powder, stirred to mix into the broth. Once the liquid was added, I shifted the ham around to make sure it was completely covered.
Set the slow cooker to Low and left for work. I love slow cooker meals but really have to look for ingredients and recipes that can hold up to 10-12 hours of cooking because my Heart and I frequently, even on good days, don’t get home much before 7-8pm (and we generally leave for work between 7am: him and 8:30am: me). I knew that we would both be in after 8pm this night but I also know that ham and beans only improve with cooking!
My Heart beat me home (I would have taken the ham out, taken a picture, then shredded / chunked it and returned it to the slow cooker). He just shredded it IN the pot, removing the bone. The ham fell apart, perfect, and I always appreciate that he helps out in the kitchen!!
Cooked some long grain white rice – my Heart likes the ham and beans with just a little broth on top of rice and I like it very broth-y (more like soup) with just a little rice. I added some hot sauce to mine but it was also fine without. The salsa has all the vegetable ingredients I like and would use with ham and beans and, for a speedy morning, was very convenient. Definitely perfect for a very cold night after a long day!