WE have a saying down South for a person full of energy, fun & mischief. We say…they are “full of beans.” This reminds me of my pastor, whom we affectionately refer to as simply, “Preacher.”
His energy seems boundless, & his sense of fun, never-ending. I had the opportunity to see him in action firsthand the year my entire family attended Junior camp when we returned to the Midwest.
Preacher set up an elaborate scheme, pitting the Junior boy & Girl campers against one another. The boys had flour bombs & the girls, water balloons hidden behind their backs. Each group thought they were ambushing the other. In actuality, Preacher, with the skill of a major general, positioned each group for attack, then sat back & watched the battle.
It was hysterical to see the outcome! Flour & water together make a gluey mess, & the kids realized too late they had been ‘had.’
Over the years, my family has enjoyed many meals with him & his sweet wife, Kay, around the table sharing funny stories. His recent birthday reminded me that even as a 70 + year old, Preacher is still “full of beans.”
It is encouraging to me to see a man of God still full of faith and enthusiasm for the Gospel after 45+ years of following his calling. I am sharing today my recipe for what else? Beans, of course.
I made a big pot of soup beans seasoned with onion, garlic, & a meaty hambone. This and some crusty cornbread baked in a black iron skillet, with some lemon sugar cookies will be my birthday gift to Preacher this year. He literally will be “full of beans.”
HAM AND BEAN SOUP
1 lb. dried beans (pinto or navy)
1 c. chopped celery
A meaty ham bone or smoked ham hocks
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 T. chicken soup base or to taste
1-2 c. ham, chopped
1 tsp. ham soup base or drippings leftover ham
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 T. dried parsley
1/2 c. shredded carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
Wash and pick through beans discarding any blemished or shriveled ones. Place in a large bowl and cover beans with water, about 3 quarts. Allow to sit overnight.
For a quicker method, you may also place beans in pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 2 hours.
Drain soaked beans and cover with fresh water, about 2 inches higher than level of beans. Add the ham bone, vegetables, and seasonings. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 1-2 hours.
Taste the broth and adjust seasonings during cooking by adding additional soup base, pepper, or garlic to taste. Soup should be salty enough due to the soup base and ham. Add additional water, if needed. Mashing up some of the beans will yield a thicker soup. Serve with hot corn bread.
This soup may also be cooked for several hours in a crockpot and it freezes well.