I finally found the perfect ham and bean soup recipe. This is one of my most satisfying meals to make, not to mention comforting. Takes me back to yonder years. It is very economical and makes a lot, so either freeze or have as leftovers, the choice is yours. Perfect with a loaf homemade bread.
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
64 oz chicken broth (bouillon is great)
32 oz water
1 lb dry navy beans
3-3 1/2 lb ham with bone in (or just use leftover ham itself, chopped)
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed (this is what makes this so good)
1/4 t pepper
~Rinse beans in a colander. Set aside.
~Heat a very large stock pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion. Cook for 4-5 mins until soft, then add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more until fragrant. Throw in ham and beans, then add chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cover and let cook for 4 hours (mine cooked in 3).
~After 4 hours, add the potatoes. Cover again and cook for 2-3 more hours, stirring occasionally. Towards the end the potatoes should break down causing the soup to become starchy and thickened somewhat. The ham should fall right off the bone. Remove the bone before serving and shred any ham chunks with forks. Season with salt and pepper if needed. I did not need to add salt.
~Can store in freezer for up to 6 months.
~Can also use canned beans, just shorten cooking time.
~Serves at least 12 people.