Tomato, Ham, and Bean Soup
Makes 6 servings
Ideal slow-cooker size: 5-quart
Cooking time: 6-8 hours
1 cup dried white beans
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced leeks
1 cup grated carrots
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (plus more for serving)
1 lb. cooked and cubed ham
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cans whole tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
Beans won't get tender if they're surrounded by acidic juices like tomato and lemon. That's why I add those later.
1. Rinse and sort the beans. Place in a bowl with plenty of water and soak overnight. (You can do the quick-soak method* if you don't have time to soak the beans overnight.)
2. Place softened beans in slow-cooker with garlic, leeks, carrots, bay leaf, parsley flakes, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, ham, water, salt, and pepper.
3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-10 hours.
4. Using a blender, puree the tomatoes and lemon juice; pour into the slow-cooker.
5. Salt and pepper and season to taste, if needed.
6. Ladle into serving bowls and add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce to each bowl.
* Kitchen Tip: Quick-Soak Method of Cooking Beans: Many recipes call for soaking beans overnight before cooking. I've found that soaking overnight results in much better texture in the beans but sometimes I forget to soak. When this happens, I use the quick-soak method: Rinse beans in cold water. Put them in a large pot and cover with about 3 inches of cold water. Bring almost to a boil (small bubbles appear around the edges of the pot), cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain. The beans will be "soaked" and ready to cook.
This recipe came from Slow Cooking Fast by Karen Bellessa Petersen.