I really enjoy Mandy at South Your Mouth’s blog so much. She is sassy, knows good food, and is best of all Southern as all get out. This chick knows her stuff. So a few weeks ago, she posted a recipe for cajun bean and ham soup. I was intrigued. The picture made my mouth water. I have had friends who have made the 15 bean soup with the packaged 15 bean soup mix. I have certainly noticed the package in the store when I was there picking up my Camellia red beans but I typically pass right on by. Well I read her blog post about the cajun bean and ham soup and noticed she mentioned that this recipe calls for the CAJUN 15 bean soup mix and that many people have a hard time finding the Cajun variety. I was in Brookshires a few weeks ago and I was getting my red beans and I noticed the 15 bean soup mix. Then right next to it, I saw the Cajun 15 bean soup mix. I thought “score!!!” and I picked up a package. I figured why not and I would cook them and blog the recipe soon anyway. I had mentioned we went to my inlaw’s last weekend. Granny made a ham (is there any thing better than baked ham?) and naturally I asked her “hey, what are you going to do with your ham bone?” What? That is a perfectly normal question to ask someone. Isn’t it? LOL!!! Give me the ham bone and no one gets hurt!!! She told me I could take the ham bone home no problem. So operation cajun bean and ham soup was ready to launch. Elusive cajun 15 bean soup mix? Check. Ham bone? Check. Houston we have lift off! Yesterday morning, I knew the day had come. I cooked those bad boys nearly all day in my big ole red Lodge Corner dutch oven with that ham bone right along with it. Ya’ll. LSU won and this soup was a winner. Yesterday was a GOOD day. Best part is that there is plenty left over for us to eat this evening. Big Daddy’s aunt is visiting today and we are taking the kids to Dixie Farms today for a little Fall fun in the corn maze and pumpkin patch.
Now let me give ya’ll this tip. Best thing in the world is to bake a ham one day and have that for supper. And then the next day make this soup or a batch of red beans and rice the next night. You can do all sorts of things with a ham and eat on that thing for several days. That’s a trick my mama taught me. Anyway, let me stop my yapping and give ya’ll this recipe so I can go get ready.
Cajun bean and ham soup (adapted from South Your Mouth blog)
1 package Cajun 15 bean soup mix (I found mine at Brookshires…I will check other stores and let ya’ll know) *
1 big ole ham bone
8 cups of water
2 cups chopped ham
Now I started out by bringing the beans to a boil (don’t add the packet of seasoning just yet) and then reducing heat so they are simmer for about 30 minutes on their own. I then added the hambone and continued to simmer them for about an hour. Then I stirred in the seasoning packet, put on the lid and let them simmer for about 3 hours. Stir from time to time to make sure they are not sticking. After about 4 hours, remove the ham bone and trim away all the extra meat off the bone. Add this meat back to the pot along with the additional 2 cups of chopped ham. Give it a good stir to get the ham good and mixed in. Put the lid back on and continue cooking on low for another 2 hours or until beans are tender. Remember to stir from time to time to ensure the beans don’t stick. Serve over some rice with some cornbread and you are set. Perfect meal for football watching on a lovely fall evening. Enjoy!!
*If you cannot find the cajun 15 bean soup mix, you can use the regular 15 bean soup mix which should be fairly easy to find. I will be honest and say I debated on whether or not to put in the seasoning packet because they tasted so good without it. Mandy mentions in her post that she could not find the cajun 15 bean soup mix where she lives and she came up with her own seasoning blend to add to make it very close. She adds 1 tsp. granulated garlic and kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. each dried oregano, dried thyme, onion powder and black pepper and 1 bay leaf.
Words cannot express how delicious these are…
A side of Cajun Mama…On the way home from dropping the kids off at school yesterday, I heard the song We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel. Big Daddy always picks on me because I listen to the words of songs too closely and naturally I did the same thing this time. I have heard that song dozens of times, but have not really paid attention as an adult. Back in high school, I liked that song. As an adult, I love it. It has a whole new meaning. We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning…for some reason on a rainy Halloween day, those words gave me peace and comfort. I am not a girl to speak of political things in mixed company. My daddy taught me this from a very young age. I remember asking him who he was voting for in a presidential election at dinner one night and he looked at me and said “my baby that is not something you ask people.” Boy in the age of Facebook and everyone feeling free to air their political beliefs, I am really glad he took the time to raise my awareness of that. This side of Cajun mama is NOT a political statement. It is simply me saying that the words of that song or the We didn’t start the fire part gave me comfort. Let’s face it, whatever side you are on, things are looking pretty scary these days. It is hard to know which way to turn or who to believe. Those words spoke to me yesterday. We didn’t start the fire…it has always been burning. Look at our grandparents and great grandparents (I had the pleasure of knowing some of mine and I am blessed for that)…they survived so many things in their time. Still here to speak about it. My Momou is 92 years old. She has seen the fire. She still has fire in her eyes. She stayed her course. Raised 5 kids, cooked meals, celebrated holidays and I think she has close to 20 great grands, as she calls them. Steadfast and sturdy and continuing on. The smart ones discuss the fire. The wise ones continue with what they are doing and let that fire burn. There is cooking to be done, dirty kiddos to be bathed, boo boos to be kissed, and laundry to be done…no time to concern myself with that fire. I see it. Oh yeah, just like Momou did, but it won’t stop me from doing what needs to be done or steal my joy as I do it. The fire will continue to burn on and on after we are gone. In this world where we preach about doing good for others, thinking of others not ourselves, it is still very easy in the dark of night or the first light of day when we are watching the news to think that surely this may soon be the end of us all. It won’t be. Just like cajun mamas before me were cooking red beans and rice long before any of us, we will endure and survive. Life will go on and there is always hope. The fire is burning and as adults we feel the heat more and more every day…that does not mean it begins and ends with us. As Billy Joel says, it will still burn on and on and on. While we are on this Earth, we may stoke the fire, add to it our fuel, but we didn’t start it and we are not going to put it out. ~AMB
My girls and our beloved Momou…what fire? 🙂