Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ham and Bean Soup - Quick Method

I love homemade bean soup, but don't always have time to soak my beans overnight.  I use canned cannellini (white kidney beans) for a quick and easy alternative.  The cannellini beans won't degrade while cooking like some of the other canned bean varieties.    Since I don't always have a ham bone on hand, I keep small packages of smoked ham hocks in my freezer.  The ham hocks give my soup the smokey pork flavor I expect in a bean soup.  Dice up a ham steak, and throw that in with the beans, and veggies for a nice hearty cold-weather lunch or dinner.

32 oz chicken broth (stock)
15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
2 cups diced tomatoes, including juice
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onion
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 ham bone or 2 ham hocks
1 - 2 cups diced ham

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large stock pot.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove ham bone or hocks.  Season to taste and serve with a nice slice of French or Italian bread.

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