Ham & bean soup

After a long hiatus, I am back! But don’t worry – I HAVE been cooking..and baking. Definitely baking.

You know how it goes: you start making something, get caught up in dishes/doing other things around the place, and you suddenly realize you are starving. Before you know it, your entire dish is gone. Vanished. Done.

‘Well, there goes any pictures I was going to take for the blog.’

Between that happening way too often and having some late workout nights, I guess I got too caught up in other things.

But enough about all of that. Tonight it’s all about this amazing new soup we decided to try a couple of hours ago: bean soup.

A great base recipe on AllRecipes started us off, and in a really, really good way. It’s simple enough: some dried navy beans, chicken broth, water, ham, veggies, and seasonings. That’s really it.

We spruced it up a bit by using a new technique and from some extra special seasonings that you may be surprised about. Now, I must give credit where it is due: my husband had the idea of adding the special ingredients of paprika and cayenne pepper. 🙂

We’ll share these secrets with you so that this will be your favorite bean soup.

We promise. Enjoy!

[TOTAL COOKING TIME: 1 HOUR, 15 MINUTES to 2 HOURS]

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz) package dried navy beans — or a combination of your favorite dry beans
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 ham steak, diced, and any part of bone you may have
  • 3/4 TSP onion powder
  • Salt to taste (I think we maybe added a quarter of a TSP. It did not need much w/ham & broth)
  • About 10-15 turns from pepper grinder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/4 TSP paprika
  • 1/8 TSP cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 TSP garlic powder

Directions:

  • Sort, rinse, and quick soak your beans. We did the quick soak method and the beans turned out just fine. (quick soak = add 8 cups of hot water to your 1 lb of dry beans in a pot, boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans once more before using in recipe).
  • Place carrots and celery in a new pot with 1 or 2 TBSPs of fat. We used olive oil. Heat them on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes. This technique is called ‘sweating’ vegetables, making them very aromatic.
  • Add to the pot: rinsed beans, cubed ham (and bones if you have them), chicken broth, water, bay leaf, and rest of seasonings except salt.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beans are soft.
  • Remove any ham bones and scrape any meat from them to place back in soup. Taste and adjust for salt to taste, if needed.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Sweating the vegetables is not required, but we think it made a nice difference. It really brought out the flavors of the carrots and celery. Highly recommended.
  • If you don’t sweat the vegetables beforehand, keep in mind that you probably do not want to add them until halfway though cooking. They were a bit mushy for us since we sweated them and kept them in the whole cooking time. But they tasted great.
  • If you have a ham bone/hock, this would be highly recommended, as well. We did not use a hock but only used the small bone that came with our ham steak. But I can say with confidence that a hock or bigger bone would NOT ruin it. 😉
  • While cooking, occasionally skim soup’s surface to remove some foam buildup.
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