Ham and Bean Soup(Hearty Ham, Bean, and Ditalini Pasta Soup)

Preparation Time: 4 hours
Number of Servings: 15

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ham bone and any leftover scraps of meat
1 16 oz can pinto beans
1 16 oz can black beans
1 16 oz can black-eyed peas
1 16 oz can great northern white beans
1 16 oz can red kidney beans
1 can Progresso lentil soup
6 quarts water
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of ginger
2 celery stalks, split lengthwise
1/2 lb Ditalini pasta (pre-cooked)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:  After years of experimentation, we've come up with a recipe for a hearty ham and bean soup that is absolutely superb. You may use dried beans, soaked in salt water overnight in the refrigerator, but canned beans work just as well, and there's less preparation time. Directions Place the ham bone, meat scraps, celery stalks, minced garlic, ginger, and chopped onions in a large stock pot (10 quart). Add approx. 6 quarts of water so the pot is about 3/4 full. Place lid on pot slightly off-center to allow steam to escape. Boil on medium-high heat for 3 hours, adding enough water every 1/2 hour to keep pot at 3/4 full. Remove ham bone and take off meat, cutting into small bits, discard fat. Remove meat scraps and cut into small bits, discard any fat. Remove celery stalks and discard. Replace lean meat into pot. Drain water from all cans of beans and add to pot. Add lentil soup, crushed tomatoes, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium. In a separate pot, boil the 1/2 lb of Ditalini pasta until just tender. Drain and add pasta to the soup pot. Continue to cook on medium heat for 1/2 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste,(we found none is usually needed). Reduce heat to simmer until ready to serve. Makes about 15 to 20 servings. Soup may be frozen.

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Submitted By: Glenn Schultz of Scranton, PA
Email/Web Site: gimik@aol.com
Original Source of Recipe: Glenn & Marie Schultz
Date Submitted: 12/27/2001 2:19:02 PM