Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Basic Ham and Bean Soup

Here's a photo of Basic Ham and Bean Soup (with tomatoes) served with
cold fresh grapes and whole-grain toast spread with pimento cheese.
Recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com
Adapted and Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

This past Christmas, my buddy, Debbie, and I split a large ham, which we purchased from Lost River Market & Deli.  Our favorite community-owned grocery store carries local meats and we knew the family who raised the pigs.  I don’t know what Debbie did with her half, but I’ve been making soups.  Of course, one of the soups had to be just a good basic bean soup such as this one served along with MeMe’s Cornbread.
Other great Husband-Tested Recipes using ham are: Sherried Mushroom and Ham Soup, Sweet Potato Hash, and Black Bean Pumpkin Soup.

2 cups dry navy beans
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 ham hock or ham bone
2 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
½ large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns or 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped ham
1 (15 oz.) can chopped tomatoes, undrained (optional)

Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones.  Cover the beans with water so that the water is a good 2 inches above the top of the beans. Allow the beans to soak over night.  In the morning, drain and discard the water off of the beans.

Place the beans in a large soup pot.  Add the remaining ingredients except the chopped ham.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Turn the heat to a simmer.  Simmer for an hour.  Remove the ham bone and discard. 

Using an immersion blender, blend just enough so that the soup looks a bit creamy, leaving some of the beans whole.  (This can also be done by placing a couple of cups of the soup to a blender or food processor to blend and then return that to the soup pot.)

Add the chopped ham and tomatoes (if using) and continue to simmer for 30 minutes until the beans are tender and the ham is heated through.  Season the soup with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

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