Monday, December 28, 2009

Ham and Bean Soup

Oh wow!  This whole last week has flown by me without a post.  A belated Merry Christmas; I hope you all had a wonderful, family-filled, blessed Christmas filled with fabulous food and treats! 

Chances are a few of you may still have some of that Christmas ham hanging around your refrigerator.  My family was ready to protest in the street with pickets if I forced one more basic ham and fixin's meal down their throats, so today we made the traditional after Christmas ham and bean soup.

It's basic, easy, and quite tasty.  More importantly, it'll use up the rest of those pesky leftovers and your family will rise up and call you blessed for not making them eat any more ham steak.

Here's what you'll need:

Carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard powder, bay leaves, chicken broth, great northern beans, diced ham, and the leftover hambone if you've saved it.  If you haven't it's okay, but save it next time.  It makes for a mighty good soup.

First, chop up 3 or 4 good sized carrots.  I used three since I seemed to get a jumbo one in there somehow.

Chop up a stalk or two of celery.  I usually prefer 2, but my husband can only suffer small amounts of celery at a time.  I try and humor him when I can.

Next chop up a cup or so of onion.  (Note:  It's really hard to take pictures of white onion on a white cutting board.  I think I should have asked for a wooden one for Christmas!)

Now toss all of those veggies in your soup pot, add a teaspoon or two of garlic, a tablespoon of butter and let cook over medium heat for about five minutes.

We're looking to soften the veggies and add just a bit of color to them.  It's an easy way to add a little extra flavor to the soup.

When your veggie mix has softened and colored up a bit, add 4 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of water, 3 cans of great northern beans (drained and rinsed), 1 teaspoon mustard powder, 2 bay leaves, and the ham bone.  Bring to a boil and then let it simmer slowly for about an hour,

I know, it doesn't look very pretty.  But trust me.  Oh trust me.  This is going to taste really, really good.

When your hour of simmering is almost up, dice up the rest of your holiday ham.  I like to leave it in bigger chunks.  I tell my family it's because I want to make it a hearty soup for them, but really, I'm just a lazy chopper.  Don't tell them.  I usually use around 2 or 3 cups, depending on how much ham is left.

Remove the hambone when your hour is up and stir in the diced ham.  Cover and simmer 30 more minutes to finish it off.  Before serving, be sure to remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.


This is super yummy served with warm buttery cornbread.  My husband will generally mix the cornbread into his soup; I much prefer mine with the cornbread on the side.  Easier to slather on the butter that way, you know.  However you choose to eat it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. :)

Ham & Bean Soup

3-4 carrots, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 ham bone or ham hock
3 cans great northern beans (drained & rinsed)
2-3 cups diced ham

In soup pot, combine carrots, celery, onion, garlic and butter.  Saute over medium heat for five minutes.  Add broth, water, mustard powder, bay leaves, beans, and ham bone.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour.  Remove ham bone and stir in diced ham.  Simmer 30 minutes longer.  Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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