Cajun Ten Bean and Ham Soup is bursting with colorful flavor and hearty nutrition!
I don’t know about eating beans for good luck and all, but this soup will definitely help you polish off the last of the holiday ham. And if by chance eating beans on New Years Day does bring luck, this soup should set you up well for 2013.
Grab a bag of mixed beans, or clear out your cabinet and make your own blend. I’m using Great Northern, pinto, kidney, black, Lima, navy, split peas, black eye and field beans. The beans will cook at different rates, so some of them will melt right into the stock, while the larger varieties will remain intact. The ham bone gives the broth incredible richness, if you don’t have one leftover from the holidays, ask the butcher at your local grocery store.
The Cajun flavors make this soup a little different than the ordinary, and a little spicier, too. Cajun spice mixes can vary, but I’ve used garlic powder, salt, pepper, both sweet and hot smoked paprika, cayenne, thyme and oregano, about 1/2 tsp of everything.
- 1 1/2 cups mixed dried beans
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp each: salt, black pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, sweet paprika, hot smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic powder
- 1 ham bone plus 2 cups chopped ham (if you don't have a bone, ask your butcher for one)
- 8 cups water
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 cup mixed bell peppers, diced
- handful of chopped fresh parsley
- Wondra flour for thickening (or use a gluten free flour like potato or cornstarch)
- Rinse the beans and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed soup pot and saute the onion for a few minutes. Add in the herbs and spices, ham bone and 8 cups water. Bring up to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for an hour.
- Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender. Add in the carrots and peppers.
- If you like a thicker soup, sprinkle in some quick dissolving flour, like Wondra, until you get it as thick as you want it. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so don't overdo the flour.
- At this point I like to let the soup cool and then refrigerate until ready to eat. This gives the soup time to develop some extra flavor.
- Reheat the soup add the parsley right before serving.
Notes: I like to add the colorful vegetables like the chopped carrot and peppers at the very end of cooking so they remain colorful and firm. Personally I feel that they get ‘cooked’ enough just by sitting in the soup as it cools down, and then again when the soup reheats before serving. This way you get color, texture and flavor from veggies that normally cook down to mush in most soups.