Ham and Bean Soup

February 17, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Beans, Ham, Soups & Stews | Leave a comment

Oh. My. Goodness.

This is the soup that is served in the U. S. Senate Restaurant daily.  I’ve heard about it, read about it, but had never seen a copy of it, so when I did find a copy over at Deep South Dish, I immediately printed it off and planned to make it.  I didn’t make it EXACTLY in the same order that she did, but since when do I?

This is labor intensive, but oh, so worth it!

Ingredients:

One pound bag of Navy beans

Six cups of water

Two stalks of celery

Two carrots

Three Bay leaves

One onion

One ham bone or ham hocks (at least one pound)

One garlic clove, minced

Two stalks of celery, sliced

One onion, diced

One baking potato, diced

Water to cover celery, onion and potato

Start with the beans.  Clean the beans, taking out the rocks and bad beans.  Put the nice beans into a large pot.

Feb 17 001Pour in 6 cups of water,Feb 17 002bring to a boil, cover and let sit for at least three hours, the longer the better.  You could even let them soak overnight.  I let mine sit while we went to breakfast, then Mass and then while I taught PSR.  When I got home, this is what they looked like:Feb 17 003Nice and plump but not cooked yet.  Grab your ham bone.  We had a ham shank bone left from Christmas, stored in the freezer.  It was full of ham that we knew would be PERFECT for this soup!Feb 17 004Set the ham bone in the pot with the beans and water.  Add two cleaned but not peeled carrots and an onion, sliced in half, plus three Bay leaves and a couple of stalks of celery.  This is just for flavoring right now, so don’t worry over slicing or dicing.  Dice the garlic and add to the pot.  You’ll notice that I’ve switched up to a bigger pot!

Feb 17 006Time to get really HOT!  I used my oven; you could use your stove top but I am happier with soup in the oven.  Mine went in a 350 degree F oven for an hour.  After the hour was up, I removed it and started tearing ham off the bone.Feb 17 009Return to oven for another hour and a half.Feb 17 010Oh, yes, and put the bone back in – there’ll probably still be plenty of meat on it!Feb 17 011Yep, see all that meat?  The longer it cooks, the more meat will loosen up and fall off the bone.  Yum!Feb 17 012Take the bone out and let it cool while you do the veggies:  remove the celery and carrots and Bay leaves and onion.  At this time, grab some more carrots and celery and another onion and a baking potato.  Peel and dice everything up and toss into a pot and boil on high heat for 20 minutes.Feb 17 016At the end of 20 minutes, mash the veggies the best you can, with a tablespoon of butter or bacon drippings.  I used butter.  Plop them into the soup.  Next time, I’ll dice my veggies up smaller, so they’ll mash easier.  There were chunks in the soup but nobody complained.Feb 17 017Mix gently and heat back up; I used the stove top now because I put some cornbread into my oven.  Want to see what was left of the huge ham shank?  Feb 17 015And below is the complete ham and bean soup, hot and creamy and rich and ready to be devoured:Feb 17 018Served with hot cornbread and real butter….a feast!Feb 17 019We may not be U. S. Senators but we ate like KINGS and a QUEEN today!Feb 17 020Oh!  It was awesome.

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