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Bean Soup with Country Ham

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Bean Soup with Country Ham

Bean Soup with Country Ham

Copyright 2009 Kevin D Weeks
This bean soup with country ham involves a trick I've never seen anyone else use. Typically dried beans are rehydrated in plain water, whether over night or by cooking them. But by using plain water you're missing an opportunity to flavor the beans, so I begin bean dishes by making a stock and then rehydrating them in the stock. That way the beans soak up the flavor of the stock, which makes for a much tastier dish. (Larger image.) Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • Stock:
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1/2 onion; quartered
  • 1/2 stalk celery; 3" pieces
  • 1/2 lg. carrot; 3" pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Soup:
  • 1/2 lb. navy beans; picked over
  • 2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1/4 lb. slice of country ham; fat trimmed off and cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1/2 onion; chopped
  • 1/2 stalk celery; sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
  • 1/2 lg. carrot; sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preparation:

Stock:
1. Combine ham hock, quartered onion, large pieces of carrot and celery, and bay leaves in a soup pot and add 3 quarts of water.

2. Set over medium heat. Bring to a vigorous simmer (do not boil), reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook for about three hours.

3. Strain the stock and discard vegetables.

4. Cut up meat from ham hock into small pieces and set aside.

Soup:
5. Add beans and sage to stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat immediately to a medium low. (Note: you may need to add more water, the beans should have about 2 inches of water over them.)

6. Cook at a lively simmer for 3 - 4 hours (adding water as needed) until beans are tender.

7. Add remaining ingredients, including meat from hock, and cook 1 hour longer. Taste and adjust seasoning.

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