Dry beans are one of the most affordable foods out there. 1 lb of beans makes a good little pot of food and is usually less than a dollar.
My bean soup recipe is so simple and so affordable, and you can use any kind of beans you want. The only thing that changes with bean type is what kind of spices you add at the end.
Crock Pot Bean Soup
- 1-2 lbs of dry beans (favorites are black beans, black eyed peas, or pinto beans)
- 1 onion
- 1 ham hock, a chunk of smoked ham, 1/3 lb of bacon, or a ham bone. (If you don’t eat pork you can use a beef bone, but it is a non traditional flavor to do so.)
- Water for cooking.
- Vegan option — replace your water with vegetable stock and eliminate the meat.
- seasonings/salt to be added after cooking.
- Soak your beans overnight. If you are using an instapot or stove top method then you can soak for 8 hours starting early in the morning.
It’s very important to soak your beans for at least 6 hours, though, and not more than 12. More than 12 and they get rancid. (You can smell the rancid smell if you soak too long.) Less than 6 and you lose most of the benefits of soaking. (synopsis of benefits: soaking releases the sugars that cause beans to be famous for causing gas. This makes them significantly easier to digest.)
- Rinse them thoroughly. Once those hard-to-digest sugars are released into the soaking water, if you go ahead and cook them in that water then you are just causing the beans to reabsorb them. Drain and rinse your beans. Watch while rinsing for bits of gravel, since dry beans aren’t washed before being bagged for your store.
- Cover them with clean water. You will likely need to add water half way through the cooking process, regardless of whether you are using stove top or crock pot.
- Peel your onion and slice it in half. Add the halves of onion and your meat option.
- Cook. 8 hours on low in a crock pot. For stove top, bring to a boil and reduce heat, then simmer 45-60 minutes.
- Add seasonings.
- For black beans I add salt, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, and paprika.
- For pinto beans and black eyed peas I add salt, pepper, dry mustard.
Serve poured over rice or with a corn muffin. I like to add butter to my bowl of beans, and eat it without a side, but of course, that’s up to you! Tune into the kitchen next week to see how I turn my leftover brown bean soup (pinto beans) into refried beans for easy burritos.