Bean Soup Review

In an effort to honor the cooler weather here in Florida, reach my weekend happy place, and decrease the consumption of dairy in my life....I made bean soup.

This delightful dish is a conglomeration of items that were languishing around on my counter just trying to go bad.  I had 3/4 of a whole wheat baguette that either needed to be thrown away or re made croutons {yum}.  There was a serrano pepper, a jalapeno pepper, and a pint of grape tomatoes that also were on their last legs.  I chopped them fine, sauteeing in one tablespoon of butter until softened and fragrant.

I previously had soaked the beans for ten hours changing the water three times during that time.  I find that any sort of beans are significantly more digestible when soaked in this manner.  The beans were the pre packaged sort that I picked up at the grocery when it was on sale.  I also used some ham cubes and chicken stock from my freezer as well as a chopped onion.  

In my opinion an economical, use what you have, open for interpretation sort of soupy goodness.  Try this one the next time you want something a little different.

Mixed Bean Soup

1 pkg (11-12oz) mixed dried bean soup with seasoning (soaked as desired or as package directs)
1/2 large onion chopped
8 oz ham cubes (small dice)
1 1/2 cups low sodium or homemade chicken stock
2 cups water
1 serrano pepper sliced (may remove seeds and ribs if desired)
1 jalapeno pepper chopped with seeds and ribs removed
1/2 pint grape tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon butter
sliced green onions for garnish
chopped raw onion for garnish

In a dutch oven saute the ham cubes and onion until ham is browned and onion softened.  Add the broth, water, and beans bringing to a boil then reducing heat to a slow simmer.  Cover.  Meanwhile, in a small pan saute the peppers in one tablespoon of butter until softened and fragrant.  Add tomatoes cooking for long enough for them to start to break down about 4-5 minutes.  Add the pepper tomato mixture to the beans and at this point, I recommend tasting the broth and adjusting seasonings to your individual taste...I didn't add anything at this time as the ham was salty enough and the peppers added just the right kick.  Allow the beans to simmer for an hour then taste again.  At this point, I added about 1/4 of the included seasoning pack (to your desired taste) and allowed the beans to cook for another hour until softened but not breaking apart. Add additional broth or water if you prefer a thinner soup. Serve with croutons and chopped green and white onions as desired.