Reducipe: Mexican Ham & Bean Soup
With food prices still going up I wanted to post another bean recipe that we enjoy. Bean soups are a filling and hearty way to satisfy your family and keep food costs down. This one isn’t vegetarian and incorporates a little bit of ham.
This recipe is a spiced up version of ham and bean soup. It brings in a lot of the flavors of my region and is anything but bland. The ham and chipotle chilies add a smoky note to the soup and really compliments the other flavors.
If you can’t find whole chipotles where you live you can also use ground chipotle. Just be careful not to be too heavy handed with the ground stuff. It’s smoked jalapeno and it can get spicy! If you have to leave it out entirely I would consider adding a ham hock to boost up the smoky goodness.
The Manchego cheese and cilantro toppings bring coolness to the soup and offer a wonderful contrast to the highly flavored broth.
Mexican Ham & Bean Soup
1 lb dried pinto beans
10-12 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups onions, chopped
2 cups smoked ham, cubed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 chipotle chilies
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons oregano
3 bay leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Manchego cheese, finely shredded
Pick through beans for pebbles and wash thoroughly. Place beans in large dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain.
Combine beans, broth, onions, ham, garlic, and spices in a dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in tomatoes and chilies and simmer another 30-45 minutes. Discard the chilies and bay leaves and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve hot with cheese and cilantro sprinkled on top. Serves 6-8.
I actually put the chipotles in the soup at the time I mix all the other ingredients. I tend to like my soups spicy and the added time steeping really amps up the heat factor. If you don’t like too much spice be sure to add the chipotles when you add the tomatoes.
The soup is awesome when it is brothy so don’t skim on the liquids. If you can’t find low sodium chicken broth cut it with some water. Otherwise the soup can turn out a little salty after it condenses. Save your salting for after the simmering on this recipe.
I like to buy the prepackaged slice of center cut ham for this recipe. I find it gives just enough and keeps the price low. Make sure to go for smoked ham, or if you want you can also add a ham hock for added smokiness.
I really like Manchego cheese for the topping on this dish. It’s a feisty cheese that can hold it’s own to the spiciness of this soup. I like it so much that I’ll try to bargain for it! If Manchego just isn’t in the budget you can replace it with Monterrey Jack.
I think this is great with a little cheese quesadilla on the side. I used fresh tortilla, Manchego, sautéed onions, and a little garlic powder for mine. Yum!
|Pinto Beans||$0.57||Canned Tomatoes||$1.36|
|Total||$11.29 or $1.41 a serving|
This soups sure packs a lot of flavor for such a small price tag! You can cut down the cost even further by substituting a cheaper cheese for the Manchego, using your own chicken broth (or buying it in bulk), and getting a deal on the canned tomatoes. Enjoy!