All the meal needs to be finished are some delicious garnishes (see ingredient list), and a lovely salad (I recommend spinach).
If you try this recipe, let me know! - Kimberly
1 five quart stock pot OR crock pot
1 strainer - mesh is best
2 Tblsp olive oil (only if you use the stock pot - you don't need this for the crock pot method)
1 bay leaf
1 (1lb) bag of mixed beans soup mix - but toss the ham flavored soup pack inside
2 carrots - rough chopped and peeled only if you think they need it
1 large yellow onion - rough chopped/ large dice
2 stalks celery rough diced (large pieces are ok)
couple of generous sprigs of thyme OR 1 Tblsp dried
2 quarts favorite stock - I recommend veggie or chicken stock --beef not so much as it makes the soup heavy tasting
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced (or sub any potato you really like)
Salt and white pepper to taste
garnish suggestions -- chopped parsley, bacon, chopped up cooked sausages, cheese, sour cream, dijon mustard
*** I deeply apologize for not having a picture of the finished soup to share. We ate it. Good news, though! I froze a portion for future use and will update the photos for this recipe as soon as we are ready to eat it!
Crock pot method: The night before you want the soup, soak the beans and saute the carrots, celery and onions. Dice the potato, too, then store them in water in your fridge so the pieces don't oxidize and turn black. You can prepare your garnishes as well (if you plan to use them)
In the morning - pick out any debris or bad beans from the soaked batch, rinse and put in the crock pot.
Put the sauted veggies, drained potato and remaining ingredients into the crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours. Now, go to work, play with your kids, study, or KNIT/ SPIN until dinner time. Whatever it is you do, you've got dinner DONE!
Check the seasoning and adjust before serving.
Stove top method:
On medium high heat, add the olive oil, bay leaf, onion, carrot, celery and thyme to the pot and saute until onion and celery appear soft and semi-translucent.
Add the rinsed and picked beans, stock, and potato to the pot. Stir occasionally as the beans will sink to the bottom of the pot. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve when beans are tender but not overly mushy. The soup will need to simmer for about an hour to cook the beans. ***Note - if the bean mix you use has split peas in it, then these will definitely "mush up." This is fine, and actually thickens the soup a bit.