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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ham and Bean Soup

    Today I made Ham & Bean Soup for the first time. I used all leftovers for this, other than a bag of dried navy beans. I had all the vegetables in the house, and leftovers from a spiral ham. I started with a receipe from Taste of Home magazine special, Make & Take (pg 84). I didn't have the ham hocks that recipe called for, nor did I remember ahead of time to soak the beans overnight.
     I got a special deal the other day on a pressure cooker. Mine is an InstaPot 7 in 1 Multi-Functional Cooker. It's a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté and warmer. I used the pressure cooker to cook the beans. Once it got ready and heated up, it only needed 4 minutes cook time, then it cooled off.
     The Taste of Home recipe called for draining the beans, then adding 8 cups water to make the soup. I wanted a base with more flavor so googled a recipe, and sure enough, others used chicken broth. This recipe was also from Taste of Home. You can find it here:
     There were a few noticeable differences. Both called for a mirepoix of celery, onions and carrots. The online recipe sauted the vegetables in butter. That sounded better, so I did that. I should have done it a little longer than I did. The onions were translucent when I stopped, but the celery and carrots still had a bite to them and needed longer to soften. I did not add the chili powder, garlic or bay leaf that the online recipe called for. I stuck with the Campfire Bean & Ham Soup recipe that was just dried navy beans, onions, water, cooked ham, (the ham hocks I didn't have), celery, onions, basil and pepper. It called for 2 cups celery which when eaten, seemed a bit much, so would reduce the amount next time.
     Once the vegetables were done sautéing, you just add the liquid, the ham and the cooked beans. Mix and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with fresh bread.
     In the end, this is what I came up with, modified for what changes I'd make for next time:

Ham & Bean Soup

1 lb dried navy beans
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water (more to soak/cook beans)
4 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tub Knorr vegetable homemade stock concentrate
1 packet Swanson Garlic & Herb Flavor Boost

Place the beans in an ovenproof dutch oven; add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1-4 hours or until the beans are softened. Alternately, you can cook them quickly in a pressure cooker. (If you don't want to use dried navy beans, you can use 4 cans great northern or navy beans, rinsed and drained.) Once beans are cooked, drain and rinse. Do not save water.

In a large saucepan, sauté the carrots and celery in butter. After a few minutes, add onions. Saute until all vegetables are tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients, if you want you can reserve the 2 cups fresh cold water depending on how thick you'd like your soup. I found the 6 cups liquid (4 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water was perfect. Original recipe called for 8 cups and I never used the reserved water.) Mix well and simmer all soup for 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot with fresh bread.

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