This is a guest post from longtime customer and friend, Jeremy. Jeremy is a professional landscaper, and amateur chef. I asked him to share his ham and bean soup recipe. Thank you, Jeremy!
We will have plenty of ham available this Saturday at market.
Ham and White Bean Soup
Nothing says home cooking like a good ham and bean soup. Ham, as with bacon, elevates practically anything it’s with into tasty territory. It’s versatile and works in many different ways; with pasta, casseroles, stuffed in cordon bleu, baked with vegetables, as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And boy, ham is wonderful, especially from my farmer who raises happy, healthy, acorn fed hogs. I give him money and the occasional garden vegetables. I get his meat and eggs. I’m lucky to have him as a friend.
2 Cups Dry White beans; Cannellini, Lima, or other
1.5-2 lbs Smoked Ham or Smoked Pork Hock, bone in preferable, fat trimmed and diced
2 small Onions, coarsely chopped
1 Celery stalk, coarsely chopped
2-3 small Carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
Bouquet Garni: 1 Bay Leaf, 2-3 Thyme sprigs, and 2-3 Parsley sprigs, tied with kitchen string (or dried herb equivalent; about ½ teaspoon each with a dried bay leaf.)
½ Cup White Wine
2 Cups Stock, Pork or Chicken
2-3 Cups Water
White pepper, Salt to taste
1. Sort and rinse beans. Soak overnight in cold water. Or if pressed for time, in a separate pot bring beans and water to a boil and then simmer for an hour or so while prepping above ingredients.
2. Trim excess fat off of ham, dice into small cubes and fry in soup pot. Stir and cook until fat is rendered and you are left with fried ham cracklings. Drain cracklings on paper towel and reserve.
3. Fry vegetables in rendered fat. Stir occasionally until onions and celery become translucent.
4. Add wine to vegetables to de-glaze pot. Boil off alcohol for a minute or two and add whole ham. Drain beans and add to pot with herb bouquet, pinch of pepper, salt, and stock. Add just enough water to submerge beans, vegetables and ham. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for 3-4 hours or until the beans are tender and the ham begins to fall apart.
5. Turn off heat, remove ham with bone, herb bouquet, and about half of the beans. Pull ham apart into pieces and strips reserving the beans and ham. Blend slightly cooled soup with immersion blender until creamy and smooth. Place reserved herbs, beans and ham bone back into pot and reheat, season with more salt and pepper if needed. The ham bone and herbs continue to add flavor as it reheats.
6. Serve soup, topped with pulled ham and cracklings