Monday, January 2, 2012

Vegetable Ham and Bean Soup

Printable Recipe
This recipe combines vegetables and cannellini beans for a hearty, more interesting soup than ordinary Ham and Bean. Leftover hambone from the spiralcut Honeybaked? Bring it on. Best way ever to flavor this soup and not let a perfectly good hambone go to waste, especially the sweet amazing flavor of holiday Honeybaked! I'm not doing a commercial. Really. Just a fan, that's all.

Let's start the pot with that famous trio onion, celery, carrot - about a cup of each.  These need to saute over medium heat in 2-3 Tbs butter  just 5-6 minutes to sweeten a little and start to soften. While that's going on, let's check out the hambone and get the other ingredients together.
First, hambone: I'm assuming most of the ham has been cut away, but if there's still some hanging on that won't really slice into manageable pieces, just leave it. As it simmers in the soup it will get so tender you can use a fork at the end to scrape and coax loose some pieces for the soup. When the vegetables have sauteed a bit, add 1 quart of chicken broth and a drained can of cannellini beans. You can use white beans if you like, but I prefer cannellinis for their firmer texture and slightly larger size.

Bring this to a simmer while you prepare some potato to add. I used small red fingerlings, about a cupful that I washed and left unpeeled then sliced into 1/4" rounds. Any potato is fine, just keep the pieces fairly small so they'll cook promptly with the other vegetables. We're going for a soup that is ready in about 30 mintues here which means No Big Potato Chunks.

This soup doesn't need much seasoning beyond the hambone. I gave mine 5 or 6 good hard shakes of black pepper and a pinch of dry mustard. Added one bayleaf, too. I ground some fenugreek seed, maybe a tbs or so, because I like the flavor that is milder than cumin, but somewhat similar, and a little sweet. It's used as one of flavoring agents in fake maple syrup, so maybe that's the element that makes it seem like a good fit for hammy soup. Try fenugreek seed and grind it yourself in a small coffee grinder (well washed!). The flavor is always better if you can grind fresh.

That's it. Don't worry if that hambone is not completely immersed in the soup. Let it simmer for half an hour, maybe flip the bone over halfway through, and give it a taste. If the vegetables are cooked and the flavor is good, serve this up with some cornbread and eat up!

1 can of Cannellinis (or White Beans)
1 Qt Chicken Broth
3 Tbs Butter
1 cup Onion, chopped
1 cup Carrots, chopped
1 cup Celery, chopped
1 large potato or 6-7 fingerlings, sliced/diced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs Fenugreek
1/2 tsp dry mustard

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