Monday, December 28, 2009

Ham and White Bean Soup

Cook a ham for Christmas and if you're at our house you'll wind up with that whole hunk of meat at the end of it that doesn't get spiral cut and is just hard to deal with. In the past I have feebly hacked away at it, winding up eventually throwing much of it away. This time I was determined to not waste it, so I looked around on line at a few different soup recipes, and then opened up my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (you know, that classic red and white checkered one), and loosely followed their recipe. Alan declared it one of his favorite soups, and that's saying something. This was also one of my very few attempts at cooking beans from scratch and I'm pleased to say that they came out well. This is the sort of soup that you should plan ahead, starting it around 4 hours before you plan to eat it if you're cooking the beans from dry. If you're going to use canned, an hour is sufficient.

Ham and White Bean Soup

3 cups dry Great Northern Beans
pinch of baking soda
1/2 t. ginger
water as directed below
1 yellow or white onion, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
ham bone with a generous amount of meat left on it
2 bay leaves
1 T. fresh thyme leaves or 1 t. dried
3 cups carrot "pennies"
1/2-1 t. liquid smoke to taste
1/4-1/2 t. tabasco to taste
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place washed and sorted beans in a 4 quart pot and add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and add another 8 cups of water, along with the pinch of baking soda and ginger (these are supposed to help reduce digestive issues associated with eating beans), and bring to a simmer. In a large nonstick skillet, heat up the olive oil, and add in the celery, onion and garlic. Saute until softened, then add to the beans. While the skillet is still hot, fry the hunk of ham bone on all sides until lightly browned, then add it to the pot. Add in the bay leaves and thyme and let simmer for 1 hour. Add in the carrot pennies and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove the ham bone and the meat should fall off easily at this point and allow for easy shredding. Add a little more water if needed. Add the shredded meat back into the pot and season with liquid smoke (go easy - a little goes a long way), tabasco, salt and pepper to your taste.


The Hillmans said...

I have a ham bone in the fridge that was going to be part of split-pea soup, but I'm going to try this recipe instead. It looks yummy!

Kathy said...

This recipe looks great! I very rarely buy canned beans because dried are so much cheaper. I cook them in my pressure cooker after the boil/soak and they are done in about 15 minutes.

dining room table said...

I like the recipe! My mom always tells me to buy fresh beans and not those that are in cans. They taste far from the original.

whiting family said...

What are your suggestions if I wanted to do this in the crockpot?

Nurse Heidi said...

Kim, I think it'd be a good one for the crock pot. You could probably just dump it all in and push go, but I would personally cook the onions, garlic, celery and ham in a skillet first then add it to the beans and water. I have found with many crock pot recipes that they tend to be a bit flat flavorwise after cooking that long, so you will likely need to readjust the seasonings right before serving.