In case you haven’t noticed….it is HOT outside! The heat drains me. I can’t breathe. The air conditioning is struggling to keep the house cool and it’s too hot to stand over a grill cooking outside. So who in their right mind, would ever think soup would be a good idea in the summertime? Uhm…me.
I’d like to take credit for the brilliant idea, but it was actually Hubby who suggested the soup. Not for the same reasons I thought of, but hey, I’ll give him the credit. He even suggested setting the slow cooker on the porch.
Yep, extra Brownie Points for him!
He introduced me to Hurst Beans 15 Bean Soup several years ago. It seems to be a staple slow cooker recipe for construction workers living in motels while working out of state. Super easy to prepare and a hearty, flavorful, ready to eat meal after working a 12 shift.
Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup
This a one of those basic recipes that you can season to your taste, and make substitutions as needed. This is how I make mine:
- 1 pkg dry 15 bean soup mix (with the other dried beans in grocery stores)
- 8 cups water (or any kind of broth)
- 1 lg. chopped onion (I usually add another 1/2 onion)
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic (can substitute 1 clove or 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
- Ham bone and/or ham pieces (sliced smoked sausage is really good too)
Toward the end of cooking, you will also need:
- 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (I sometimes use a can of seasoned diced tomatoes)
- 1 -2 tablespoons of lemon juice or juice from 1 lemon (The lemon juice will bring out the flavor, but it is not absolutely necessary)
- Optional: 1 large shredded carrot
What makes this soup so simple is that no bean soaking is necessary!
- Rinse and sort the beans, then drain. (Save the included seasoning packet for later)
- Pour 8 cups of water (or broth) into a large slow cooker. Stir in the drained beans, chopped onions, ham bone and ham pieces, and minced garlic.
- Cook on HIGH 6 – 7 hours or LOW 12 -14 hours. (Put the slow cooker on the porch to avoid heating up the kitchen when it’s hot outside).
- When the beans are tender, remove the ham bone and stir in the included seasoning packet, a can of diced tomatoes and the lemon juice. Plus the carrots, if you are using them. Add an additional cup of water if desired to thin the soup, if you like it a little soupier.
- Continue cooking for 30 – 45 minutes on HIGH or 1 hour on LOW.
The picture below shows the variety of beans, and is before the tomatoes and seasoning packet are added.
TIP: Avoid opening the lid while cooking, as it adds additional cooking time each and every time.
Serve with fresh chopped onion, hot sauce and crackers, corn bread or Johnny Cakes.
Johnny Cakes (aka Hoe Cakes)
Never heard of Johnny Cakes or Hoe Cakes? I didn’t know them by either of those names until recently, but southern Johnny Cakes are simply cornbread pancakes. When I was growing up, we ate them like a slice of bread with butter alongside a bowl of ham and beans.
If you want to make them from scratch, you can do a quick search online to find a recipe. I kept it simple and just used a Jiffy cornbread mix, mixing the batter according to the directions on the box with just a tiny bit more milk, so that the batter had a pancake batter consistency. Then, instead of baking in the oven, I fried the batter on a griddle just like for pancakes.
Mine usually end up being a larger size. The recipes I found said to make then silver dollar size.
My reason for thinking this soup was a great idea? I like to fix this soup not only because it’s so easy, it’s also pretty darned healthy. And anytime Hubby requests a meal that is meatless (almost), I am a happy girl! It’s low fat, low calorie and filling. What more could you ask from a simple meal? Although it’s perfect to serve in the wintertime, I was surprised at how much we enjoyed it in the heat of the summer.
You can even freeze the leftover soup in single serving-size containers for a quick meal another time.