How to make it

  • To prepare dried-bean mix, combine first five ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Divide the bean mixture into 5 equal portions (about 2 ½ cups each), and place in airtight containers.
  • To prepare the spice mix, combine the salt and the next 6 ingredients (salt through bay leaves) in a bowl, divide the spice mix into 5 equal portions, and place in small airtight containers.
  • To prepare the soup, sort and wash 1 portion of the dried-bean mix, and place in a large Soup pan or Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours, drain.
  • Combine the drained bean mixture, 8 cups water, and the ham hock in a large Soup pan or Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Add 1 packet of spice mix, onions, and tomatoes, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Uncover; cook 1 hour, discard the bay leaf, remove the ham hock from the soup. Then remove the meat from the bone; shred the meat with 2 forks, return the meat to the soup and serve

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