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CROCK POT BEAN SOUP

Makes about 8 servings
·         1 lb 15 bean soup mix
·         1 smoked meaty ham hock (I used 1 smoked turkey wing)
·         1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         1 tsp dried basil
·         1 tsp dried oregano
·         1 tsp cumin powder
·         1/2 tsp black pepper
·         1 tsp smoked paprika
·         1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
·         1 bay leaf
·         1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
·         2  quart water
·         salt (optional -to taste)
·         Sour cream or grated Mozzarella cheese for serving, optional
·         Italian parsley for garnish
Direction:
Wash beans.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions, until its soft and starting to brown lightly, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, smoked paprika,  dried basil, dried oregano, cumin, pepper flakes  and black pepper and sauté 2-3 minutes more, or until spices are fragrant.
Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, and add beans, ham hock (or turkey), tomatoes, bay leaf, water.
Set Crock-Pot on low and cook for eight hours, or until beans are tender.
Then remove about 1/2 the soup to a bowl and puree the soup you removed using food processor, or blender.
Stir the pureed soup back into the soup in the Crock Pot;
Taste and add salt if desired.
Let soup cook about 15 minutes more. Remove bay leaf before serving.
     
Remove ham hock from the pot (serving ham with soup is optional)
Serve hot, with sour cream or grated cheese and Italian parsley.
Enjoy!!!
***NOTE: Add additional stock or water if soup appears too thick for your taste. Check beans for tenderness. If not soft, cook at simmer for another 1/2 hour.
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