Again, as I wander through old picture files, I find a picture for a recipe that I never posted. It is like a game now for me, hide and go seek with pictures! I can't believe I didn't post this soup before. It is one of my favorite soups. This just screams cool fall evening, or winter night curled up by the fire. It really is a soup that puts my tummy in a happy place. Maybe it is because it is one of the first things I ever learned to cook from scratch, I don't know. I know I used to love having the soup simmering for a few hours, it made me feel like a real cook. I do know I love it and so does my family!!
I use dried beans for this #1 because that is the way my Ex's Mom showed me how to make soup, and #2 because I think it just gives the soup much more time to develop flavors. But you can easily use canned beans if you want to speed up the meal. You could also do this in a slow cooker. Just add the soaked beans with the other ingredients and set it on low if you need it to cook all days while you are at work.
I am so glad that it is soup weather again!! The stews, the chowders...mmmmm so many possibilities. That is the good thing about living in the Pacific Northwest. I have plenty of soup weather here! Although I am having a tough time teaching Kevin that it is OK to have soup for dinner.
Kevin - What's for dinner?
Me - (whatever kind it is) soup.
Kevin - What else?
Me - That's it.
Kevin - You're joking right?
Me - (looking in pot) Nope, I am pretty sure I am making soup.
Kevin - (looking in pot) Where's the meat?
Me - In the fridge.
Kevin - (blank stare)
Me - You can have a ham sandwich or something to go with the soup.
Kevin - (shaking head and walking away mumbling) How can you have a meal without meat?
My poor carnivore, I feel bad for him.....not really.....well maybe just a little.
Ham and Bean Soup
8 cups of *chicken stock, plus a bit extra to thin soup if needed (can sub water)
1 pound great northern beans (soaked overnight and drained)
1 large ham steak, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring chicken stock and beans to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at least 1 hour, to overnight (I prefer overnight if possible).
Stir in ham, onion, bay leaf, carrot, celery, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, (skimming foam from top as needed), about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are tender. If soup is too thick, add a more chicken stock. If you like your soup "creamy" use a potato masher to mash up a few f the beans.
Serve with fresh baked corn bread.
* Link is for a tutorial on how to make homemade chicken stock if you prefer homemade.