Hambone and Navy Bean Soup
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A Soup Hearty Enough to Be Called a Meal (and Satisfy Like One, Too!)
Here's the thing. Except for a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of Campbell's Tomato Soup, I never liked soup. Not when I was growing up. Not in my 20s or 30s, either. I never felt that soup was satisfying enough to be called a main course. After all, it's watery and light, and I've always been a meat and potatoes (or rice) kind of girl. And don't go telling me how healthy it is and how all I need to add is a salad and some cornbread or crusty Italian bread!
In my very first hub, Noni's Zucchini Soup (http://hubpages.com/food/Recipes-from-My-ItalianCubanAmerican-Childhood), I wrote...
"The fact that this little kid hated the taste of her soup soooo much that she would rather bear the wrath of Noni than eat the soup told her just how bad I thought it was!"
I don't think I've ever been happier that I didn't understand Italian than at that time in my life. I'm not sure what she would think of me now; now that I love her soup!!
So What Happened?
Well, sometime in my 30s I started making soups for my family. Mostly because I liked experimenting with different foods or because someone was sick and I firmly believed in the old Jewish Medicine/Chicken Soup saying.
They say that if you don't like something you can't make it well. I'm here to tell you that it's just not true. I made (stop me if you've heard this one before) THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP IN THE WORLD!!!! But I would rarely eat any...and definitely not as a whole meal.
For me the best part of making soup was throwing different things together and making something out of it, and hearing others tell me that they loved it. Though, I could never make it the same way again because I never wrote anything down!
That's why I'm writing these hubs. I'm trying to put my recipes into some form that my children can follow when they ask me how to make something they remember from their childhood. Saying a little of this or a handful of that can be rather frustrating for a new cook.
But, thankfully, people change, and hopefully, grow. In my 40s and beyond I have really started enjoying soups. All kinds. Beef Barley, Mushroom Barley, Zucchini Soup, Potato Soup, Chicken Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Tomato Basil, Bean Soup, and the list goes on.
But my favorite soup to make and eat, by far, is any kind of bean soup with a ham bone. I never make it the same way twice and that's okay. Sometimes all I will add is a ham bone, beans, onions, garlic, salt and pepper, and a bay leaf. Other times I will add all kinds of veggies. Occasionally, I will add a 28 oz can of whole or diced tomatoes. Any bean soup with a ham bone is hearty and filling.
My recipe follows. Feel free to leave out whatever you don't like or add whatever veggies or beans you have on hand.
Step By Step Instructions
- 2 pounds Navy Beans, dried
- 1 ham bone
- 1-2 cups ham chunks, optional
- 3-4 large cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 bunch curly or Italian parsley, fresh, roughly chopped
- 6-7 ribs celery, chopped, bite size
- 2 large carrots, unpeeled, chopped, bite size
- 2 large onions, vidalia, white, or yellow, roughly chopped
- 3 large potatoes, all purpose white, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1-2 cups mixed greens, roughly chopped
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Take 2 lbs Navy Beans, dried and place in large stockpot. Cover with 12 cups hot water. Bring to rapid boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour. Drain water and rinse beans well.
- Place ham bone, ham chunks, and well-rinsed beans in pot. Add enough water to cover food, plus about 2 inches more. Add the smashed garlic.
- Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours.
- Meanwhile, chop veggies for later.
- Remove ham bone from pot. Remove meat when cooled a little, chop meat and return to pot. Discard bone.
- Add veggies to pot, add salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to boil, then simmer, covered for 30-40 minutes more, until carrots, celery, and potatoes are tender.
- Remember to remove bay leaves and discard before serving.
© 2015 Joy Roma