Saturday, November 22, 2008
Cooking is so much more fun when you do it with others and the foodie blog world offers countless opportunities to connect with people from around the world even as you cook right in your own home.
One of my favorite bloggers, Deb in Hawaii at Kahakai Kitchen, sponsors a “Souper Sunday” every week where she posts her own soup recipe and invites other bloggers to join her.
Since I think soup is a near perfect food, I was excited to participate. My soup of the week is Ham and Bean Soup made with a 15-bean mix. The basics of the recipe came from my church, Northside United Methodist, where they sell the bean mix every year at our “Holly Fair” fundraiser each November. (They sell a similar dried bean mixture in most grocery stores.)
Their recipe was a tad plain for me, so I added some of my favorite soup ingredients (like celery, carrots and herbs) and now this is truly one of my favorite soups because it’s hearty, filling and full of flavor. I make it every time I have a ham bone, but you can also use bacon or kielbasa if you don’t have a ham bone.
One of the most important ingredients is the lemon juice. It really brightens up the soup and makes the flavors just pop. I use a Wooden Reamer to juice the lemon right into the pot. Love that little gadget!
What kitchen gadget is your favorite?
Ham and Bean Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 4 1/2 – 5 hours
1 bag dried bean mixture (I like the 15 bean mixture)
1 meaty ham bone
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 bay leaf
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
Rinse beans thoroughly. Place in Dutch oven with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil and boil for two minutes. Set aside for two hours. Drain and rinse beans. Clean Dutch oven and place beans back in pot. Add two quarts of water, ham bone, onion, celery, can of tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil and bay leaf. Bring to boil – then simmer slowly for 2 1/2 hours.
Add carrots, lemon juice and Tabasco and simmer for another half hour. Remove ham bone and cut off any ham still clinging to bone and chop it up and add to soup. Serve with a salad and a nice crusty bread.
For a printable recipe click here