Few things can warm the soul like a crockpot full of 15 bean soup. It's like the "ol' reliable" of the soup world, right? I'll be honest - I hadn't ever made 15 bean soup prior to this recipe, but Barrett has slurped down a bowl many times throughout his life thanks to his mom's version. So, I figured it was my turn to tackle the task of creating a scrumptious 15 bean soup and here's what I coined together.
15 bean soup is incredibly budget friendly and it serves a ton. Ask me how I know - I made the soup on Friday for our Valentine's Night dinner date and I still have half a pot left in the fridge! I'm going to freeze the leftovers for future meals when I'm in a pinch. Flavors abounding, my recipe is easy and involves our trusty slow cooker. Yippee!
A 20oz bag of the bean mixture cost me $2.40. Add in the fresh vegetables needed - onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bell pepper - plus a can of tomatoes, a ham hock (for flavor purposes only), and a carton of chicken stock? You're looking at roughly $15.00 for this massive making of cozy, soul soothing soup. I served mine alongside classic cast iron skillet cornbread.
Here's what you'll need:
1 20oz package of 15 bean soup bean mix
1/2 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
3 carrots chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 ham hock
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Corn starch for thickening optional
1 box cornbread mix - follow needed instructions for added ingredients
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1) So, to kick off this 15 bean soup recipe, you'll need to do a little planning ahead. The bean mixture needs to soak overnight or at least 8 hours before cooking. I covered my beans in sink water - in a bowl, of course - and allowed them to sit on my counter while we slept. They were ready for the crockpot the following morning. Now, throw your soaked beans into said crockpot!
2) Chop your onions, garlic, carrots, bell pepper and celery. Toss them on top of the bean mixture.
3) Then, add your canned of diced tomatoes with the juice.
4) Next, nestle your ham hock into the vegetables and add your seasonings. The ham hock serves as a flavor provider. You can find them in the meat section of your grocery store. It's not for eating purposes and you'll discard once the soup is finished. My pack came with three, so I threw the other two into a freezer safe bag and stored them for later use. You could also substitute with cooked bacon, but the ham hock is hard to beat.
5) Pour 4 cups of chicken stock - or vegetable stock - into the pot.
6) Stir to combine and set your slow cooker to low. Allow the soup to cook for 8-10 hours.
7) Mmmm, yum! Now, this step is completely optional but I prefer a thicker based soup. About an hour and a half out from serving the soup, I put 2 tablespoons of corn starch into a separate measuring cup. Then, I spooned a little bit of soup into the measuring cup and whisked the mixture together until there were no lumps in the starch. I added the mixture into the soup, stirred everything together, checked for seasonings (you'll probably have to add more salt) and allowed the soup to keep cooking.
For the cornbread...
1) Preheat your oven to 400F degrees, or whatever the package instructions say on your cornbread mixture. Then, melt 2 tablespoons (let's be honest, I'm not really measuring the butter) of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium/high. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, invest in one! But, you can melt the butter then add it to the batter itself.
2) Dump the contents of the cornbread mix into a bowl. I love Jiffy, and it's only $0.55 in my grocery store!
3) Add your milk and egg per the box, then sprinkle in 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar.
4) A squeeze from the honey bear... of which I used the rest of our supply in this cornbread. Mix all the goodness together.
5) Pour the batter into the hot skillet and cook for roughly 30 seconds to a minute on the stove top. Good things happen here...
6) Place the skillet into the oven very carefully - use oven mitts! - and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Marvel over your cornbread wonder.
Ladle a big helping of soup into your bowl and slice a piece of cornbread perfect for dipping! Like I mentioned above, the leftovers are freezer friendly. Or, may I suggest packing up a container for your trainer? They will appreciate you forever! Enjoy, friends.