I enjoy a hearty bean soup but never take the time to make it myself. My mother made it thick and loaded with smoked ham, and it’s a prominent childhood memory. I decided that with our cold, rainy weather (ok, so it’s California and I’ve become a total whimp) it would make a comforting dinner and would fit with this month’s Monthly Mingle event.
Rustic Bean Soup
servings: 16 (1 cup each)
points per serving: ~2.5
1 lb. dry navy beans or other white bean
1 ham bone
2 c. lean/trimmed ham
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
salt/pepper to taste
This soup is pretty simplistic, but the smokey ham in combination with the beans is wonderful. I’m sure a few of you are wondering about the ‘ham bone’. When I make a ham, I always save the ham bone for some future use. At Christmas, I took the bone and dropped it into the freezer so I could make this soup.
To begin, rinse the beans and cover with water to soak overnight. In the morning, drain off the water and cover again with water until ready to use.
When you are ready to make the soup, drain the beans for the last time and place into a large pot. Add ham bone and cover with water (about 12 cups). Bring to a boil, then add onion, celery, and ham. Cook over medium low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The beans will become soft and will begin to thicken the soup.
For a thicker soup, use less water or mash a cup of the beans and add back to the soup. It’s important to not season this soup until near the end of cooking since the ham will provide saltiness. I like it with lots of pepper … probably 1-2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper. Before serving, remember to remove and discard the ham bone.
Since I’m watching what I eat these days, I factored the Weight Watcher’s points for this recipe. The ingredients include 41 points, so assuming you yield about 16 servings (~ 1 cup each), the points value per serving is about 2.5. Regardless of points, it tastes really frickin’ good :-) And, the soup is even better the day after it’s made.