Classic Ham and Bean Soup

from the kitchen of MKA

Servings - 10  Serving Size - approx. 1 1/2 cups    Points Plus per Serving - 3 points+

Calories - 127,   Total Fat - 0.9g,   Carb. - 22.2g,   Protein - 8.3g,   Fiber - 6.0g

1# dried white beans, such as Navy or Great Northern, rinsed and soaked overnight, then drained

1 med. onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

32 oz. box of low sodium, fat free chicken stock  ( 4 cups)

6 cups water

1 smoked ham hock

1 - 2 dried bay leaves

1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, undrained  (no added salt if you can find them)

1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced

1 cup celery, sliced 

8 oz. fully cooked smoked lean ham, diced

1 tsp. dried thyme

2 - 3 TBS. brown sugar

couple dashes of liquid smoke

juice of half a lemon

1.  In 6 quart dutch oven or similar sized stock pot sprayed with cooking spray, on med heat, cook onion until softened ( about 5 minutes) .  Add garlic and cook for a minute or so longer.  Add beans, chicken stock, water, bay leaves, and ham hocks.  ( if you have a smoked ham slice with the bone in...cut around the bone and drop that into the soup with the ham hock, then remove when beans are done)   Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover loosely and simmer for about 2 hours, or until beans are tender.  Remove ham hock and discard.  Skim off any visible fat from top.

2.  Add in canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, diced ham and thyme.  Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender.  ( about another 30 minutes to an hour). 

3.  Remove bay leaves and discard.  Add in brown sugar, liquid smoke and lemon juice.  After testing broth, season with salt and pepper.  ( you may not need any salt at all)  

4.  Optional....take a potato masher and mash up some of the beans and veggies on the bottom and stir for a thicker soup!  ( I did do this!)