Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ham and Bean Soup

The East Coast has been hit hard this winter. Snow....I don't do snow. Really I don't do cold either. I live where cold is 40 degrees. We are really spoiled here. While the East Coast has been rocketed with cold weather, it has been summer like here. But having grown up half my childhood in cold winter weather, I am so supportive of what you are going through and want to post a warm meal.

Ham and Bean Soup is truly an old fashioned recipe. I grew up on this. It is very cheap, feeds and army. This is not a thirty minute meal. You could make in your crock pot and have it ready once you get home from your day. I am home today so I am making on the stove.

I made Ham at Christmas. Instantly I froze the bone. This is the sole purpose I froze the bone! There is ton of flavor in the bone and meat for the soup. If you don't happen to have a ham bone lying around in your freezer, buy a ham hock.
Ham and Bean Soup

1 ham bone or 1 ham hock
1 onion quartered for stock
3 carrots cut in half for stock
3 stalks of celery cut in half for stock
1 clove of garlic minced for stock
1 bay leave for stock
water for stock

1 package of navy beans
water to precook beans

1 cup carrots chopped
1 onion chopped
1 cup of celery chopped

Here is where multi tasking comes into hand. You are going to pre cook the beans in one pot and make stock in another. You can by pass this process and toss everything in a crock pot but this way is worth the extra work.

In one very large pan would will combine the beans and water. Make sure you rinse and pick at the beans making sure there are no stones. Cover with the beans with about 2 quarts of water. Bring to a rolling boil, cover and remove from heat. Leave covered and let stand for one full hour. Another way to by pass this step is to cover the beans with water and let stand overnight. I never plan that far in the future to remember to do this.

While the beans are sitting lets make the stock. Take the ham bone, all the veggies for the stock and cover with water. I didn't measure the water but its about 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours
.Drain the beans. Set aside.Strain the stock (keeping the stock) and place the ham bone and any loose ham aside. Dump the veggies used to make the stock.Skim the top of the stock for fat.

Take the ham off the bone and chop upPlace the beans, veggies for the soup and the chopped ham back into the pan. Cover with the stock. Bring to boil and let simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are soft.

I like to serve it at this point. I like the broth clear but if you like a thicker consistency, take 2 cups of the soup and blend in a blender and add back to the pot.


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