I'd have to thank my very sweet Biloxi friend, Stacey, for introducing me to her mama 13 years ago. Her mama's ham and bean soup was one of Stacey's fav meals while she was growing up and her mama apparently wouldn't tell anyone how to make it. Stacey left me alone with her mama for an hour and I walked away with the soup recipe and her grandmother's eggplant Creole recipe, too. Yeah, I'm just that good, y'all. I adapted this for the slow cooker over the years because why, friends? I'm a lazy cook and who doesn't effing love their slow cooker, right?
Stacey, who has never been interested in cooking, but is always interested in eating, paid me a visit not too long ago. I was able to make her one of her favorite childhood meals. Her mama passed away right after Katrina hit. It was wonderful to have Stacey come into my house and smell the yummy aroma of this soup cooking on the counter. I'm so thankful I was able to do that for my friend. :o)
If you have a ham bone, throw it in here for the flavor! Just remove it when the soup is done and give it to your doggies.
2 cups dried beans*, soaked overnight
1/2 pound ham cut into bite size pieces
14 ounces diced tomatoes
1 cup minced bell pepper
1 cup minced celery
1 large, minced onion
1 cup chopped carrots
4 cups of water
4 cups of chicken broth
1 &1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice from 1/2 a lemon
* I use whatever mix of beans I have on hand. You really can't go wrong here. I like to use a mix of beans better than just one type though.
During the last half hour of cooking, add lemon juice. Stir to combine. You can add a couple more cups of water, if the soup has cooked down too much for you.
Serve with cornbread and salad. Be sure to sit some hot sauce on the table, too. :o)