Stove Top Method – Slow Cooker Method – Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Method
Here is a hearty and delicious 15 Bean Soup with Ham and Sausage recipe that makes great use of leftover ham and the ham bone. My family enjoys this soup after the holidays and on cold winter nights. Instructions have been provided to cook on the stove top, slow cooker and Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.
History of Soup Beans: In the Southern United States and particularly the Appalachian Mountain region, soup beans refer to brown beans (such as pinto beans) that are cooked with pork for flavoring. Other types of beans can also be used such as white beans, butter beans, and black-eyed peas.
Soup Beans used to be served during the winter months in many rural areas when food was scare and considered a main staple food. Soup beans are often re-cooked as fried bean cakes, or made into mountain chili the next day. In the winter months, a pot of beans simmered on the stove of every house every day.
Beans are known for causing flatulence or excessive gas. One old wives’ tale says, “To prevent this, cook a potato in the beans. The potato absorbs the gas but be careful when you dispose of the potato because you now have a ‘Hillbilly’ hand grenade.”
15 Bean Soup with Ham and Sausage Recipe:
15-Bean Soup with Ham and Sausage Recipe
1 pound bag of dried 15-Bean Soup Mix with Seasoning Packet*
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cooked ham, chopped
1 ham bone or 2 to 3 ham hocks**
1 pound kielbasa sausage, cut in half and sliced
2 large carrots, washed, peeled, and chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced (optional)
2 (15-ounce) cans diced or stewed tomatoes (with liquid)
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth or stock***
Salt and pepper to taste
* I like to use Hurst's Brand 15-Bean Soup Mix. You can buy the package of 15-Bean Soup in your local grocery store which is packaged with a variety of 15 different kinds of dried beans and a Seasoning Packet.
** Ham hocks can be found in most local grocery stores (ask the butcher, if you can't find them).
*** Learn how to make homemade Chicken Stock - Basic Chicken Stock.
Dried Bean Preparation:
Set aside the Seasoning Packet that comes with the 15-Bean Soup Mix.
Rinse and drain the dried beans. Check for any unwanted debris and discard. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by approximately 3 inches.
Quick Soak or Power Soak: Bring water almost to a boil (small bubbles appear around the edges of the pot) and let simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with lid, and let stand for one (1) hour. After 1 hour, drain off the water.
Your beans are now ready to use in your favorite recipes.
Stove Top Method:
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add some vegetable oil and sautonions and garlic until tender. Add reserved seasonings, ham, ham bone, sausage, prepared beans, stewed or diced tomatoes with liquid, carrots, and zucchini. Pour in just enough chicken broth until bean mixture is covered with at least 2 inches of liquid over the top of the soup bean mixture.
Bring the soup mixture just to a boil, stir and reduce heat to medium-low to simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until all the different bean sizes are tender. While the soup is simmering, stir every once in awhile and add additional water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve soup in individual soup bowls. Enjoy!
Slow Cooker (Crock Pot) Method:
Preheat the Slow Cooker (Crock Pot). et aside the Seasoning Packet that comes with the 15 bean soup mix.
Add oil to a large frying pan over medium-high heat and sautonions and garlic until tender.
Rinse the beans and add to slow cooker along with reserved Seasonings, onions, garlic, ham, ham bone, sausage, carrots, zucchini, and stewed or diced tomatoes with liquid. Pour in enough chicken broth until bean mixture is covered with at least 2 inches of liquid over the top of the soup mixture. Stir and cover with lid.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours (until all the beans are tender).
Salt and pepper to taste and serve in individual soup bowls. Enjoy!
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Method:
Press the Saute button and adjust to High heat setting. When the Instant Pot registers "Hot", add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and let oil heat up for a minute. Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onions are softened, then add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add reserved seasonings from bean mix,ham bone, dried beans, stewed or diced tomatoes with liquid and pour in just enough chicken broth until bean mixture is covered with at least 2 inches of liquid. Stir everything together. Note: Make sure pot is no more than 1/2 full when cooking dried beans.
Press the Cancel/Keep Warm button. Cover with lid and close the lid to seal. Make sure the pressure valve is closed to seal. Next press the Manual button, adjust to high pressure setting. Set the cooking time to 35 minutes. When the cooking time has completed, let the pressure naturally release until the pin drops to indicate all the pressure has released (this take about 20 minutes).
Open the lid and add the ham, sausage, carrots and zucchini and stir everything together. Cover with lid and close the lid to seal. Make sure the pressure valve is closed to seal. Next press the Manual button, adjust to high pressure setting. Set the cooking time to 10 minutes. When the cooking time has completed, Quick Release the pressure until the pin drops to indicate all the pressure has released. Open the lid and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy.
This is the type of pressure cooker that I prefer to use in my cooking: I get readers asking which electric pressure cooker brand I prefer to use for cooking. I personally use the Instant Pot Multi-Use Pressure Cooker. I love having 7 cooking functions in one space saving appliance – Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute Pan, Steamer, Yogurt Maker and Warmer.
Learn more tips on How to Use an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.
Sohn, Mark F., Appalachian Home Cooking History, Culture, & Recipes. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. 2005.