Country Ham & Bean Soup with Smoked Sausage
By Susan Bickta souxie
This thick and chunky soup is my family's favorite Fall "comfort food" soup. I buy the smoked ham and smoked sausage at our local Farmer's Market. The smoked sausage gives this hearty soup a wonderful smokey flavor. I especially like this soup when I use the broth and leftover ham from the Christmas ham that my Father-in-law makes. He always buys a double-smoked ham at a local butcher. At the end of our Holiday meal, I'm ready with a freezer container to collect all of that wonderful broth to freeze so I can make this soup on a cold, winter day!
20 ounce bag dried mixed beans (i use 15 bean soup with seasoning packet)
envelopes ham flavoring (from a 1.41 ounce box)
peeled and diced carrots
peeled and diced potatoes
leftover ham, cubed
smoked sausage, cut into thin slices
bayleaves, broken in half
14.5 ounce can chicken broth
quick cooking barley
1Place dried beans in a LARGE pot and pick through to check for stones. Rinse beans, drain and add water to cover by at least 2 inches. Soak at least 8 hours or overnight.
2After soaking, drain beans, rinse, drain again and add 2 quarts water, flavoring packet (that comes with beans) and 2 envelopes of ham flavoring. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. (Note: you may have to add more water during this step to make sure beans are covered with liquid.)
3After simmering for 1 hour, add onion, carrot, potato, ham, sausage, bay leaves and 2 more envelopes ham flavoring to pot. Simmer an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often, until beans are soft and begin to break apart.
4Add chicken broth and quick cooking barley (and more ham flavoring if needed). Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until barley is cooked.
5Serve with salad and crusty bread.