I would have called this TNT but am working out the last (rice) little issue that was (mildly) plaguing me.
> 4 cups (dry) 13 bean combination soaked overnight in 3 quarts water(do not recommend any soy here, makes it bitter) in a covered 12 quart pot
> rinse and stir the beans in cold water first (before soak) pour it off, repeat until water is clear.
> bring the beans to a slow boil in the water they soaked in, have ready 4-6 pounds of boned Smoked ham shanks, the bones come out easily, I like these instead of hocks, more meat less fat, leave the chunks as large as possible, don't break it up.
> reduce heat and cover, cook at just simmering for 3 hours stir occasionally
> (optional) let cool overnight and skim off fat
> skim off the fat.
>strain (save the liquid) and separate meat from beans (much easier when cooled overnight)
> put the beans through a wire strainer or puree them in food processor, the idea is to end up with a puree (If you have cooked any rocks, they will show up in the strainer)
>return the puree to the pot, break up the meat with your hands so it fits a soup spoon and return it to the pot.
>add water or stock to the reserved liquid to make 2 quarts and return it to the pot and bring it slowly up to a simmer.
>Add and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes;
1 cup sliced carrots. 1/4" thick
2 cups coarse chopped red onion
3 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes (or fresh when available)
1/4 cup fresh garlic crushed through your smasher*
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup celery 1/4" thick sliced, with leaves
1 or 2 Bay leaves, whole
when the vegetables are just done, add 1/2 cup of brown rice, or barley if you prefer, and stir often for 45 minutes at low heat to cook the rice.
when the vegetables are just done add 1/2 cup (before cooking) precooked brown rice(or barley) to the pot.
place a heat diffuser under the pot and reduce heat to very low (object is just to maintain HOT soup at cooking temperature, not quite simmering) and stir in 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice (or barley)( or both
) cover and DO NOT STIR AGAIN for 45 minutes.
I should mention this, I have never found it necessary to add salt to this, the smoked ham and stock have always been sufficient
This soup will be bound, critical for success in my estimation.
To bind the soup:
have ready 10 tablespoons sifted AP flour
Melt 10 tablespoons ( glad you skimmed off the fat earlier aren't you?) fresh salted butter in a saucepan, whisk in one 14.5oz can** or fresh chicken stock and bring to a boil.
gradually add and cook the flour to make a thick roux and remove from heat immediately, do not use this if it burns, start over.
Thoroughly stir in the roux and you are done.
I like this served with copius amounts of hot iron skillet baked corn bread and
ice cold milk. Cole slaw or potato salad make fine compliments
*I'm an electrician by trade, my cookspeak may be a bit flawed in places.
**I do not use low sodium stock here, there is no other added salt in this recipe.
If you want to see a happy man after a cold day working outdoors, serve me this for dinner.