Red Bean Soup
- Yield: 18 servings
- 2pounds dried red beans
- 1cup (2 sticks) butter
- 4ounces andouille sausage or smoke sausage
- 2 meaty ham hocks, or 4 ounces chopped ham
- 2cups chopped celery
- 2cups chopped onion
- 2cups chopped green bell pepper
- 2tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 2tablespoons Creole seasoning
- 2gallons chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 1cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled, chopped
- Sort and rinse the dried beans. Combine the beans with enough water in a large bowl and soak for 8 hours or longer; drain.
- Melt the 1 cup butter in a large saucepot and add the sausage and ham hocks. Cook until brown on all sides.
- Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and Creole seasoning. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the red beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or until the beans are tender. Remove the ham hocks and discard the bay leaves.
- Cool the ham hocks enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones and add to the soup.
- Puree the soup in batches in a food processor and return to the saucepot.
- Simmer over low heat until thick enough to coat the spoon.
- Whisk in the chopped butter a few pieces at a time to thicken the soup and enhance the flavor.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve.