Tuesday, November 27, 2012

:::{Ham & White Bean Soup}:::

This recipe is adapted from one my momma made frequently when I was growing up.  It is hearty, and tasty, and a great way to make use of some left-over Thanksgiving ham!  My mom would use a ham hock, and boil all the meat off the bone; but I just had a big ol' hunk of cooked ham, so that was what I used!  My mother is an amazing cook; so anytime I can emulate her cooking style, I do!  I feel very fortunate to have grown up with a mom who loves to cook and always tries new things; I would say it is a pivotal factor in my love for making good, hearty, healthy foods!
This is a recipe you will want to start early in the day, because the longer it has to simmer, the tastier it will be!  Plus if you are using dried beans like I did, they take several hours to cook and become soft...  But it is well worth the time it takes, and the stove does most of the work!

Start with your beans.  For the two of us, I used 2 cups, which will allow for plenty of leftovers...
Rinse and sort your beans (picking out any gross looking ones, or pieces of dirt or rocks).  Then place them on the stove in a pot with 2-3 inches of water covering the beans.
Bring them to a boil, and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Then cover and remove the pot from the heat.  Allow them to sit for 1 hour.  During this time you can start chopping your vegetables (onion, garlic, carrots, and celery).

Once the beans are done soaking, drain them and put them back in the pot with some fresh water.  At this point only use as much water as you want broth, I covered the beans with ~1 inch of water, and turn the stove on Med-Low heat.  I then chopped up some onion and garlic and simmered with a little bit of butter.
I then added the diced carrots and chopped celery, and simmered for ~5mins, allowing the veggies to cook a little.
I then added the veggies to the beans, and allow them to start soaking up the flavor.  Side note, when my mom makes this soup, she does not add carrots and celery; they just sounded good to me!  This soup is easy to manipulate and make as simple or complicated as you wish.
I then diced the ham, and added it to the mix.  (See the tasty pile of fat I trimmed off... gotta love pork!)
Cover and allow the soup to simmer for at least 1-2 hours (the longer the better), and season with salt and pepper to taste.
While the soup was gently boiling away, I whipped up a batch of corn bread, which pairs nicely with this soup...  I like to serve this soup as my momma does, with a dish of thinly sliced onion in white vinegar, which can be spooned into your soup.  Or you can eat it like my dad likes to, with Ketchup... Either way, this is a pretty well rounded, tasty meal!

Ham and White Bean Soup

2 cups Great Northern white beans
1 onion (diced)
2-3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 carrots (peeled and diced)
1 heart of celery (chopped)
~1/2 a ham (diced) or 1 ham hock (boiled)

  1. Rinse and sort 2 cups white beans.
  2. Place rinsed beans in pot with enough water to cover by 2-3 inches, bring to a boil.
  3. Boil for 2-3 minutes; cover, remove from heat, soak for 1 hour.
  4. Drain the water from the beans.
  5. Place the beans back in the pot with ~1 inch of water covering them.
  6. Saute the onion and garlic with butter.  Add the carrots and celery.  Simmer for ~5 minutes.
  7. Add the veggies to the beans.
  8. Dice your ham and add to the soup.
  9. Bring to a simmer (med-low heat), and simmer for 1-2 hours; at least until beans are soft.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Enjoy!

Corn Bread

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease 8x8 inch pan.
  2. Mix corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, then add milk and oil; mix well.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Serve warm with butter and honey (yum!).
  7. Enjoy!

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