Warm, hearty, and savory. That’s the best way to describe this recipe. It’s one of our favorites during fall. So delicious and easy to prepare. Make a pot and put some in the freezer for a chilly night.

1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups), rinsed, soaked in water, and drained
1 lb pre-cooked ham (or ham pieces)
2 bay leaves
8 cups water
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped rough
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large carrots, chopped rough
2 celery ribs, chopped rough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tbsp chicken base
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
3 to 4 Tbsp lime juice (can substitute lemon juice)

Heat olive oil in 4-quart pot. Add pre-cooked ham and brown for 5 minutes. Add beans, 8 cups water, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and let cook 75-90 minutes, until beans are tender. (To save time you can use canned black beans. If you do, just rinse and drain the beans. Since they are already cooked you do not need to cook them for 75-90 minutes.)

Add the onions, garlic, celery, and sweet potato. Cook about 15 minutes. Stir in cumin, chili powder, chicken base. Add bell pepper then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 30-45 minutes. Before serving add 3 Tbsp of lime juice.