Now is the time to make one more hearty soup before the temperatures outside start warming up. This is my dad's favorite soup. It's so simple but so comforting, and everyone loves it. Even though he made it with only a few ingredients...a bag of dried 15 bean soup, an onion, a bay leaf, and ham shanks...it always had incredible flavor. I modified it slightly to include extra vegetables, but it still tasted just like I remember. You could also keep this soup vegetarian by omitting the ham shanks, but I would use vegetable or chicken broth in place of water for extra flavor.
15 Bean Soup
Servings: 6 to 8
1 lb. dried 15 bean soup (soaked overnight in a large pot of water)
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 ham shanks (optional)
10 cups water (use chicken or vegetable broth if omitting the ham shanks)
Salt and pepper
In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer. Drain the soaked beans and rinse with water. Add the beans, bay leaf, ham shanks, and water (or broth) to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Remove the ham shanks from the pot. Shred the meat with a fork, discarding the excess fat, and return the meat to the pot. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Source: A Much Kneaded family original