15 Bean Soup

15 bean soup is a great fall dish. With a few pints of beer (nut brown ale, perhaps?), some dark rye bread and a bowl of cornichons, its a weekend lunch or filling dinner fit for royalty.  

2 cups of dried 15 bean soup mix (or assorted dry beans including red kidneys, black eyed peas, green lentils, yellow lentils, chickpeas, butter beans, navy beans, split peas, pinto beans, brown lentils, black beans, etc.)

1 ham hock

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I prefer organic Kimberly Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar)

½ cup chicken stock

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons dry mustard

1 tablespoon coriander seed

1 teaspoon thyme

Freshly cracked black pepper

Sea salt

1.) Cooking with dried beans takes some simple prep – they need about eight hours to soak before cooking. Soak them at room temperature in your covered stockpot overnight (for lunch service) or all day (for dinner service).

2.) First, drain the beans from their soaking water and rinse them well. Add them back to the stock pot and fill with fresh water (to two inches above the beans) and put to a boil. Add the ham hock as well. Let the beans boil for 45 minutes to an hour uncovered. Add back a little water or more chicken stock if too much boils off and the beans start sticking – you want it to have a slightly “soupy” consistency at the end.

3.) Add the remaining ingredients. If you’d like, you can caramelize the onion and garlic in a little oil in a separate sauté pan first. Bring down to a simmer and let the flavors meld for another 15-20 minutes.

That’s it – a pretty easy meal to make. If you like, you can add cubed ham or thick bacon to make it even heartier. And as 15 bean soup lovers know, it’s great when you make it but its even better the next day!

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