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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday Recipe - Ham Bean Soup

No, not "ham beans" but ham and bean soup. We had ham the other day, spiral cut with the bone in the middle. The bone makes tasty soup, so don't throw that away. And if it has chunks of ham still on it, even better.

This soup is best made in a slow cooker or crock pot. Long, slow simmering really pulls the flavors out. So make it the day before you want to eat it, or start it the night before.

Ham Bean Soup

2 c. dried white beans, like navy beans
1 ham bone
4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced, use the center of the bunch with the leaves for best flavor
2 bay leaves
1 t. Italian seasoning
2 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper

Rinse the beans under cold water several times. Put the beans in a large saucepan. Add enough water to generously cover them, about 6 cups. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and let the beans sit for an hour.

Drain and rinse the beans. Add 6 c. of fresh water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 hours until the beans are tender. You can do this in a crockpot - cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours or overnight.

Place ham bone in a large slow cooker. Add beans and the rest of the ingredients. Add extra water if needed to cover all the beans and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours until the meat is falling off the bone and the vegetables are very tender. Remove all pieces of bone and the bay leaves from the soup and throw them away.

Stir and add more salt if needed. Serve with crackers or fresh bread.

Makes about 3 quarts of soup, enough to feed at least ten people and still have some leftovers. Unless those people are teenage males.