Tuesday, November 16, 2010

White Bean & Ham Soup

.Photo courtesy of A Good Appetite

I bought some dried white cannellini beans at the farmers market on Sunday. I generally shy away from dried beans because I hate the process of soaking them and boiling them. No matter how long I cook them, they always seem undercooked and a bit dry. Well this past weekend I struck up conversation with a vendor about the dried white beans. He was raving about them and said they don't need to be soaked at all, they cook in 20-30 minutes and they are creamy and delicious. Sold! He was right too. The beans were significantly better than canned beans and the dried beans I've had in the past. This is why it pays to go to the market and talk to the people there. You discover new things.
There were so many soup options: white bean and kale, white bean and rosemary, white bean and ham. I had a ham hock in the freezer so I went that route, combining a few recipes. It was so simple and turned out great. As with most soups, it was even better the next day.

White Bean & Ham Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" thick slices
1 or 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4" thick slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T tomato paste
few handfuls dry white cannellini beans (1 1/2 cups roughly)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ham hock
2 quarts chicken stock
1 T fresh chopped parsley
Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes. Add the carrots and celery. Cook and stir for about six minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add garlic for a minute or two. Season with pepper and a tiny bit of salt. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add bay leaf, ham hock and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce and cook over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hock and stir in chopped parsley. Take out a few ladles full of soup and blend with an immersion blender in a small bowl or with a regular blender. Add pureed soup back to the pot. Pull meat from ham hock and chop or use your hands to break it into small pieces. Add to the soup, check for seasoning and serve.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

I made a similar soup today - it's my easy empty pantry soup. It's 2 cans of cannelloni beans, 2 sticks celery, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 litre chicken stock, 1 onion and 2 garlic cloves. Pretty similar to the recipe you tried, minus the ham.