Submitted by: Michael from Rochester Hills, MI
Start by soaking the 20 oz of beans overnight, or at least eight hours.
Drain and rinse the beans and place into an six or eight quart pot
Add two quarts of water, the ham cubes and Bay Leaves to the pot
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for 2.5 hours, stirring about every 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, onion, garlic, chilies, paprika, and ancho powders to the pot. Stir well and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes
Remove from heat and stir in the Bouquet Garni and Hickory smoke powder. Mix well.
Serve with crusty artisan bread and plenty of soft butter!
If you cannot find the 15 bean soup mix, you can mix 20 ounces of your favorite beans and lentils together. Some finer food stores sell their own mixtures which often contain a more interesting blend of beans. Take care to monitor the beans as they simmer. Too much heat and too much water will boil off and the beans will burn and turn into a paste. Too little heat and the soup will be thin and watery. Ideally, the pot should be just very lightly bubbling.