Ham and Bean Soup
meaty ham bone
leftover scraps of meat
1 16 ounces can pinto beans
1 16 ounces can black beans
1 16 ounces can black eyed peas
1 16 ounces can great northern white beans (or navy)
1 16 ounces can kidney beans
1 can Progresso lentil soup
6 quarts water
2 medium onions, coarse chopped
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch ginger
2 stalks celery, split lengthwise
1/2 pound ditalini pasta (precooked)
salt and pepper to taste
You may use dried beans for this recipe, soaked in salted water in the refrigerator overnight, but canned beans work just as well, and there’s less preparation time. Place ham bone, meat scraps, celery stalks, minced garlic, ginger, and chopped onions in a large stock pot (10 qt). Add approx. 6 quarts of water so the pot is about 3/4 full. Place lid on pot slightly off-center to allow steam to escape. Boil on medium-high heat for 3 hours, adding enough water every 1/2 hour to keep the pot at 3/4 full.
Remove ham bone and take off meat, cutting into small bits, discard fat. Remove meat scraps and cut into small bits, discard fat. Remove celery stalks and discard. Replace lean meat into soup pot. Drain water from all cans of beans and add to pot. Add lentil soup, crushed tomatoes, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium.
In a separate pot, boil the 1/2 lb of Ditalini pasta until just tender. Drain and add pasta to the soup pot. Continue to cook on medium heat for 1/2 hr. Add salt and pepper to taste, (we found none is usually needed). Reduce heat to simmer until ready to serve. Makes 15-20 servings. Soup may be frozen.