Bean Pot Soup

There are not enough soups in the world to keep me happy. I would and do eat soup year round. I made this with a big ham bone with lots of meat left on and no sausage. I have also made it with the sausage and ham. It is just plain good either way. This hearty soup could become a family favorite at you house. Serve this with your favorite cornbread.

Bean Pot Soup
6-8 servings
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2 cups pinto beans
4 slices bacon
1 jalapeno pepper diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons seasoning mix (recipe posted above)
2 1/2 quarts unsalted chicken broth
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
1 1/4 pound hot smoked sausage, sliced
1 1/4 pounds cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 potatoes, diced

Soak the beans overnight in sufficient cold water to cover by 3 inches. In a 8-quart or larger stock pot fry the bacon until crisp and remove the pan. Add the peppers, onion, celery, and garlic to the bacon fat, and saute' until tender. Add the unsalted broth and seasoning.

Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pot, ensuring the beans are covered by 2to 3 inches of liquid. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender. Add additional water as needed to ensure the free boiling of the beans.

Add the sausage, ham, and potatoes; simmer an additional 30 minutes. Add additional water if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Cook's Note: If using a meaty ham bone add that when the beans start cooking and let it simmer with the beans. Remove ham bone and let cool enough to handle. Remove meat and return to the bean pot.