Cooking with Beer: 15 Bean Cajun soup with Ham Shanks

A nice soup on a cold wintery day can be just the thing.  One of my favorites is a nice thick 15 Bean soup. Hurst’s Hambeens Cajun 15 Bean Soup can be found with the other beans and legumes at most grocery stores.  I love their flavor, and the great mix of beans they provide.  I also found when I first started cooking that their recipes on the back were great for making sure the soup came out perfect every time.

I started today by soaking the beans in water for 7 hours.  The longer you let them soak, the better and faster they cook.  Keep this in mind if you want to cook them in the crock-pot.  Leaving them to soak overnight before turning on the crock-pot in the morning will give you perfect beans every time.

Once I had drained the water from off of the beans (trust me, never use the liquid you soaked them in to cook them), I added them to the pot.  At this point the standard recipe and I diverge in the wood.  Hambeens recipe calls for just 2 quarts of water.  I prefer a thicker, more flavorful soup, so I used 2 bottles of Henry Winehard’s India Pale Ale, and 2 cups of beef stock.

To this I add the included seasoning packet, 3 tbs. of Garlic Powder, 2 tsp. black pepper, and 2 tsp. Lowery’s Seasoning Salt.

I then add 2 Large Ham shanks.  I prefer the shank to the hock as it has more meat, and seems to have less salt.  You could also brown some cajun sausage links or the like here for different flavor profiles.

Bring the soup to a rapid boil for 3-5 minutes, then turn to low and let it cook.  After about 2 hours, here is what it looks like: