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Beans + Ham = Soup! October 13, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, soupe du semaine.
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How’s that for a math problem, huh?  Actually, it’s not even really a problem – it’s a solution!

So anyway, a few months ago, during one of his smoking sessions, Peeps included a couple of hams we’d picked up at Eastertime – and in addition to several packages of super-smoked ham for soups, casseroles, scalloped potatoes, sandwiches, whatever our little hearts desire,  and as if THAT’s not enough, we’re also the proud owners of two smoked ham bones for soup.

And what better soup to take advantage of a well-smoked ham bone than bean soup?

The problem is that these things occur to me the day OF, rather than the night BEFORE, so we didn’t really have time to soak fresh beans overnight.  But that’s OK – we put them in a pan, covered them with boiling water, and let them soak for a couple of hours.  There you go – instant soak!

PhotobucketOnce we deemed a pound of sorted and rinsed navy beans to be sufficiently soaked, it was time to get to work.  We started with our basic mire poix – an onion, some carrot and some celery, along with a bit of garlic and some ham.

We just want to slightly brown the veggies first, that’s all.  As for the the ham, well, it never hurts to brown that a bit too, does it?

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Meanwhile, I took a trip out the the herb garden  and brought in a bunch of fresh thyme.

I tied the thyme up into a bouquet garni.    I didn’t want the stems to get lost, after all – this way, I can just grab the string and pull out whatever hasn’t dissolved.

So anyway, once the onions and company have softened a bit, we added a pint or so of chicken stock along with our bouquet and basically deglazed the pan.

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We added in the soaked navy beans, the smoky ham bone, and enough water to mostly cover everything, a bit of salt and pepper, and we’re ready to go.

PhotobucketWe brought the mixture up to a boil, then backed it down to a simmer, with the lid on, but slightly tilted, until the beans were completely cooked.

This took maybe 2 or 3 hours or so, as I  recall – but as long as you’re in the house, it’s not a big deal.  Just move it to the back burner and go about your business, that’s all.

PhotobucketAnd once the beans are done, Peeps pulled out a couple of ladles full and mashed them, to be added back into the soup to thicken it.

And I, in the meantime, picked just a sprig of fresh rosemary.  Everything gets poured into a container,  including the rosemary (except the ham bone – we pulled that out) , to just sit for a couple of days.

Soup is (almost) always better after a stint in the fridge, don’t you think?

And there we have it – the homey goodness of beans, with the hint of smokiness from the ham bone – it’s so simple to put together, you can ignore it for the better part of the day, and it tastes so good when you finally get around to eating it!

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