Introduction: Leftover Bean Soup

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Leftover bean soup arises from the same place as Scrap Soup - odds and ends - but with beans. We do love our beans - black beans, red beans and pinto beans. But then we get down to that place where we've got just enough beans for incomplete meals. That's where the leftover ham comes in; put it all together and you've got a wonderful pot of Leftover Bean Soup!

Step 1: Ingredients

Ham - 2 cups

Dried beans - 1-2 cups

Leftover beans of choice - we had black eyed peas, about 2 cups worth

Onion - 1 cup, diced

Garlic - 1 clove, minced

Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons

Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon

Wickles - 2 tablespoons

Tomato Salsa - 2 tablespoons

Spices - we like Italian seasoning, basil, chili powder

Salt and Pepper - to taste

Step 2: Saute Onion and Garlic

Because sauteed onion and garlic is the most wonderful base for almost anything!

Saute in a couple of tablespoon olive oil until translucent and fragrant.

Step 3: Rinse Dried Beans

Always rinse your dried beans thoroughly until water runs clear.

Step 4: Add Water and Beans

Toss in your washed beans with about 5 cups of water.

Step 5: Bring to a Boil, Cover and Simmer 1 Hour

Bring your dried beans to a roiling boil, cover and simmer on a back burner for about an hour. This is a quick soak method for dried beans.

A Note on Soaking Beans: You'll usually see recommendations to discard the water after soaking your beans, whatever method you use to soak your dried beans. We stopped doing that years ago, because we couldn't find a good reason to discard that water. There's a really interesting conversation about the practice of discarding the soaking water on the Vegan Coach that pretty much confirms our view that there's no reason to do it.

But it's totally up to you - if you decide to discard the soaking water, saute your onions and garlic separately and then dump them into the pot with the beans after they've soaked for an hour, and proceed with the rest of the recipe from there.

Step 6: Dice Ham

Dice up your leftover ham, about two cups worth, while your beans are soaking.

Step 7: Add Ham and Potatoes

Add your diced ham, and about 2 cups of frozen or fresh diced potatoes to your bean broth.

Step 8: Add Leftover Beans, Salsa and Spices

Add in your leftover beans, about two tablespoons of salsa, 2-3 tablespoons chili powder and the rest of your seasonings to taste.

Step 9: Simmer 1 Hour

Cover and simmer one more hour.

Step 10: Ladle and Enjoy!

Do a taste test and if your beans are done to the preferred texture of cook and diners, ladle away. You can also let your beans go another 30 to 45 minutes as needed.

Optional: Throw in a few dashes of hot sauce and the whole thing is absolutely heavenly!