Beans (Bean and Ham Soup)

Beans beans the musical fruit the more you eat the more you toot the more you toot the better you feel so let’s have beans at every meal. Clam chowder makes them louder.

I learned that, of all places, at church camp back in nineteen sixty something…  Like a wildfire it made the rounds of all the cabins the very first evening.  I truly believe it’s the reason I only went to church camp the one year.  My mom was not happy when she asked me what we’d done at camp and that was the first thing that popped out of my mouth. Definitely not what she’d sent me to church camp to learn.  And just so you know, my daughters, like my mom before them, aren’t very happy with me when I find the need to repeat that little verse – especially when they have friends over, and we’re eating beans.

And now for the recipe:

1 pound dry navy or baby lima beans

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups chicken stock, broth, or bullion

1 large meaty ham bone or a pound of ham cut or shredded into bite size pieces

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce

salt to taste

Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl of water with 1 teaspoon baking soda mixed in (it makes the skins more tender and reduces the bean’s side-effects – see rhyme at top of post).  The next morning drain and rinse beans, add to large pot (or slow cooker).  Add all other ingredients with additional water to cover.  Cover pot and simmer over low heat about 6 hours stirring often, adding more water if needed (or set slow cooker to low for 8-10 hours).  Remove bay leaves and ham bone, return any meat from bone to pot.  Mash lightly with bean or potato masher to thicken a bit.  Makes 10 to 12 servings.


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