Saturday, February 5, 2011

Twelve Bean Soup

After the holidays you can always find a ham bone or two in my freezer.  Nothing warms you up like a good soup or stew in the winter time, and this soup is especially welcome as I make it only once per year.  If I  have a second ham bone on hand, I make Aunt Rose's Pot Pie

Like most soups, this one is not quick but neither is it difficult.  I purchase the 12 types of beans pre-mixed at the grocery store.  These must soak overnight or at least for eight hours before cooking.  Similarly, the ham bone must cook for a long time.

Making the broth (the day before serving the soup, if possible):  Start by roughly chopping and sauteing a medium onion in olive oil for five minutes.  To this add two carrots and two stalks of celery, both roughly chopped.  Optionally add 1/2 cup of white wine at this point.  Saute for another five minutes with some salt and pepper.  Then add the bone and cover with water.  Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 3-4 hours.  When all of the meat has fallen off the bone, remove it from the heat and let it cool enough so that you can handle it.  Strain the solids from the broth and separate the bones and other waste from the meat.  Then return the broth and meat to the pot or a container and skim off any fat solids. (If you are making the broth a day ahead then place in the refrigerator and before you head to bed for the night, put the beans in water to soak.) 

Making the soup:  If you refrigerated the broth overnight, skim away the fat that has solidified on the top of the soup.  Then bring the broth to a boil and add the soaked beans.  These need to cook over a medium-high heat uncovered for two or so hours, until nearly tender.  Stir occasionally to ensure they do not stick. Then add any additional ham, carrots, celery or other items you prefer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30-45 minutes.  You can also add a peeled tomato or two (or canned stewed or diced) to the soup at this stage if you prefer, although I rarely do.  Serve with a light side salad )spinach with pears shown here) and corn bread, which you can make while the soup is cooking, as it goes well with the dish.

1 comment:

  1. My little mother made this soup!!! I used up my ham bone during the holidays... but I bet a hock would do a bang up job! Homey recipe that looks great, David!