Emeril's Red Beans and Rice Soup

I have had this recipe forever; I can't believe I haven't made it and posted it on Gather yet.
This is a delicious soup!

oil
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
creole seasoning to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 thick slice good quality ham, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup dried red beans
4-6 cups chicken broth or stock
hot cooked white rice
hot sauce to serve

In a large soup pot, heat a little oil over medium high heat.

Sprinkle the chicken liberally with seasoning.

When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pot and sear on each side til light brown.

Add veggies. Sauté veggies til softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, bay leaves and beans and sauté another minute.

Add the broth and ham and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered til the beans are tender, about 2 hours.

Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the pot and heat through. Remove bay leaf.

I served the soup topped with rice and a dollop or two of hot sauce.
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