October 03, 2010

Saturday's Soup

As the season has shifted into autumn, I've been looking forward to making some big batches of hearty soup.  I've got a lot of good soup recipes I've developed over the years, and many, many more I've found but haven't yet made.  In fact, I've got a couple cookbooks full of nothing but soup recipes, plus a bunch of ones I've found online that look pretty good.  Today, though, I made one of my own stand-bys for the first time this season.

Jeffrey's Ham and Bean Soup

yield - approx. 5 1/2 quarts of soup

1     large, meaty ham bone*
15   cups water
       ham soup base, as needed*
6 1/2 cups dried navy or great northern beans
2-3  cups diced ham
1     large onion, diced
2     stalks celery, diced
1     large carrot, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1     teaspoon chili powder
1     teaspoon garlic powder
1/2  teaspoon salt

Place ham bone in a large (12 quart or more) stock pot with 15 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a heavy simmer for 1 1/2 hours to make the soup base.  Remove the ham bone from the stock and discard.  Allow to cool slightly; skim off any fat, then add water if necessary to bring stock to 12 cups total.  If you need to add a significant amount of water, add a bit of ham soup base as directed by the maker of the product.

*     If you don't have a ham bone, you can substitute ham soup base.  Similarly, if your ham bone doesn't provide a rich enough stock, add some ham soup base until it is flavored to your taste.  LB Jamison's and Penzeys both make an acceptable ham soup base, though neither produces as rich a flavor as one gets from a nice, meaty soup bone.

After you get the soup base started, add dried beans and 12 cups of water to a large dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let stand for one hour.  Drain the beans, discarding the cooking water.

In the large stock pot, combine the ham stock, diced ham, vegetables and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and partially cover.  Let simmer 2 hours.  The beans and vegetables should be quite tender by this point, and the broth fairly thick.

This soup serves up great with hot corn bread or garlic bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment