Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Red Bean and Ham Soup

There is nothing as comforting or restoring than a steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter day. Savory soup will satisfy even the hungriest appetite, yet still enable a person to stick healthy eating habits.  Filled with vitamin rich vegetables, lean meat, and flavorful broth, it’s a delicious way to fill up without feeling guilty.  The thing that many people don’t realize is - it is so easy to make. I hear the objections right now:  “It takes too long; who can remember to soak beans overnight?”, “Beyond this cooks skill level!”, or “The soup I make is watery and tasteless”. I promise you, that with canned beans and canned broth - this soup is a snap to make. I make this when I have to have something ready really fast. It's one of Roy's favorites and it's equally as good with great northern beans and chicken broth instead of the red beans and beef broth.

Ingredients for Four Servings:

2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (15 oz.) cans beef broth
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1 (15 oz.) can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz.) package cubed ham (1 cup)
2 generous tablespoons of tomato paste


The first step of almost every soup recipe calls for slowly cooking diced celery and onion (and often sliced carrots) in a bit of oil until tender.  I like to speed things up a bit by putting these vegetables in a glass bowl, covering it with plastic wrap, and microwaving them on regular power for six minutes. 

After the carrots, celery, and onions are done cooking, transfer them to a large soup pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine.

Bring the ingredients in the pot up to a boil.  Turn down the heat to medium and simmer for about ten minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve.

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