Ham and Bean Soup Deluxe

You need to buy a bone-in ham, about 3-4 lbs. I try to buy the smallest one I can find since they are all pretty big and pricey.

1 bag Great Northern beans
1 ½ tsp. paprika
4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced (sort of chunky)
2 onions, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
Crushed red pepper flakes
A nice baguette

Place the beans in a large stockpot, cover with water, add one chopped onion and paprika and cover the pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer. Meanwhile, take the ham and start cutting off the meat. Most of this will go in the soup, but there will be a lot left over for sandwiches, quiche, etc. You are trying to remove the ham, leaving the bone, fat, etc, to flavor the soup. I cut the ham into small cubes until I get about 2 c. The remainder I leave I big pieces for another meal or the freezer.

When the beans begin to boil, add the ham bone, fats, skin, etc. to the water. Cover with the chicken broth and more water if needed. Add ½ tsp. pepper. The cubed ham will be added later. Ok, now comes the time part. The beans will take about 2 hours to soften, but that time is good for the flavor – the ham bone is in the pot too and all of its flavor will come out.

When the beans are soft, remove the ham bone, fats, skin, etc. and discard. Add the other chopped onion, the cubed ham, carrots and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook about an hour until carrots and onion are tender and the ham absorbs the flavor of the broth.

Serve with a new sprinkle of red pepper and a delicious biscuit or baguette slices.

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