Purely American is a little company out of Norfolk, Virginia that provides my favorite bean soup mixes — all natural, no additives. The “Bridges of Ashtabula” is a hearty nine bean soup mix that celebrates Ashtabula County, Ohio — America’s covered bridge capital. Each soup mix comes with a wonderful recipe attached that turns the beans into something beautiful. We used the bone from our Easter ham along with crushed whole tomatoes, onion, celery, garlic, potatoes, sweet corn and a nice, fat chicken breast to create this heart healthy, high fiber, low fat soup. To get the best result, purchase a can of whole skinless tomatoes, drain the liquid into your soup pot and crush the tomatoes in your hands right into the pot. Feel free to use any bean mix that you have on hand, but check out the wonderful selection that Purely American offers. A perfect meal for a breezy Sunday.
“BRIDGES OF ASHTABULA” BEAN SOUP (Serves 8-10)
- 2 Quarts of water
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 meaty country ham bon (3/4 lb.)
- 1 Bouquet Garni
- 1 tsp. salt, to taste
- 1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups chopped celery (including some leaves)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 8 oz. fresh chicken breast
- 1 cup diced potatoes
- 1 cup sweet corn
- Sort through and thoroughly wash beans. Soak beans four hours or overnight in water to cover by 2 inches.
- Drain and rinse the beans. In a large pot (6-8 quart capacity) combine the beans, 2 qts. of cold water, black pepper, ham bone, and Bouquet Garni. Cover and bring soup to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cook 1 hour.
- Add salt, tomatoes (including all the juice), onions, celery, garlic and chicken breast. Cover and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. For the best flavor, prepare onions, celery and garlic just before adding them to soup.
- Add potatoes and corn. Cover and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for additional 30 minutes.
- Remove ham bone and chicken onto a cutting board to cool. Carefully locate and discard bones and fat. Dice meats fine and return them to soup. Remove and discard Bouquet Garni.