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!
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.