Good Bean Soup
Ham bone with enough ham on it for about 2 cups ham
1 medium to large onion chpped
(optionally add 4 to 6 cloves of minced garlic)
2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil (or ham fat)
20 oz. package of dried beans
for example: "Cajun 15 Bean Soup Mixture"
Start with a ham bone that has enough ham on it (or separately) to make about 2 cups of cubed ham. (Heavenly Ham, butchers, and some groceries sell the ham bones with enough ham left on them - very cheap - or just leave some meat on a bone-in ham you buy and eat some other time and freeze until you are in the mood for bean soup.)
Put the ham bone and ham, into a 6 qt stock pot and cover with water to within a few inches of top.
Bring to a rolling boil, then cover pot and simmer on low heat for at least 1 and 1/2 hours.
Cool and strain through wire strainer into a large container ( can be refrigerated ) until the fat congeals.
Skim off the fat which can be discarded or can be used for extra flavor (instead of olive oil) later to saute the onions.
When ham is cooled, break /cut / scrape off the fat and connective tissue to separate the ham from the bone, etc., and cut the ham into cubes about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size. (It will mostly shred as it is cooked and stirred, but the lengths of the fibers will be more "bite sized".)
In the Stock pot, saute 1 medium to large onion which has been chopped into 1/4 to 1/2 inch size in 2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil (or ham fat). You can also add 4 to 6 cloves of finely minced garlic if you like.
When the onion is translucent, add the 2 cups cubed ham, approx. 10 cups of the ham broth, and a 20 oz. package of dried beans (we usually use "Cajun 15 bean soup mixture" (but Don't put in the spice package if one is included with the beans).
Bring to a rolling boil, then cover and simmer from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
Stir occ. to prevent sticking to bottom. If liquid gets too low, or soup too thick you can add more broth. If it seems too watery toward the end of the cooking time, Uncover and continue to boil until the soup is the desired degree of thickness.
Taste the soup and if you desire to add flavor, use small amounts of the Cajun flavor packet (it is WAY too salty if you use all of it), or just add your favorite Cajun Seasoning until it tastes the way you like it.