For thirty-five years, I have been making "Stormy Day Bean Soup" for my family. It is an economical way to serve a highly nutritious flavorful satisfying meal with very little prep. I made this pot with four different varieties of heirloom dry beans and served it with "Doctor Kracker Pumpkin Seed Cheese Snacker Crackers". Crackers with more than 1 or 2 grams of fiber are difficult to find, but these have 4 grams of fiber. The soup and the crackers together make this an excellent high fiber meal choice.
Stormy Day Bean Soup
1 pound (2 cups) dry beans… mix and match any variety
4 cups water
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 nitrite-free ham bone or ham chunks, optional You don’t need to use any meat at all if you don’t want to. It will still be very tasty. I also sometimes use Applegate Farms uncured (no nitrites added) Canadian-style bacon which adds a wonderful flavor.
1- 14.5 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes with basil and garlic (Italian seasoned variety)
½ c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp leaf oregano
½ tsp salt
pepper to taste (I use 1 tsp garlic pepper.)
2 bay leaves
Optional ingredients: Add chopped celery and sliced carrots final 1/2 hour of cooking time. Spinach and Swiss chard add wonderful nutrition. The leaves take just a few minutes to wilt. Use the Swiss chard stems as you would celery.
Soak beans overnight with plenty of water to cover as they will soak it up. I put my dry beans in a 2-quart glass canning jar and fill it to the rim with water. It's the perfect size to allow for the beans' expansion. In the morning, drain the water off, rinse, and drain again. (Some recipes say to cook the beans in the soak water, but draining it off supposedly reduces the gaseous effect. Put the beans in a soup pot and add the water, broth, meat (if using), onion, garlic, and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 3 hours. Add the stewed tomatoes and optional ingredients and cook for 1/2 hour. Remove bay leaves. Note: The acid in tomatoes prevents the beans from softening, so that is why you wait to add them until the final 1/2 hour.