Monday, January 25, 2016

Beans and Ham Soup

Beans and Ham

One of our favorite wintertime soups is beans and ham.  I had the ham bone from our Christmas ham frozen and wanted to make beans and ham with it.   In Japan, I had a hard time finding dry beans like I was used to.  I usually use white navy beans, but couldn’t find any white beans at all.  I could only find red beans and little black, round beans.  I bought the black beans.  They were absolutely delicious.  I have never tasted a better bean in my life.  I soaked them overnight, then cooked them with the ham bone and vegetables.  It’s hard to describe, but their texture was smooth and creamy and just delicious.  At home I usually use white beans or pinto beans.  But now I know that black works, too!  You can also make this with a ham steak, and I have many times.

2 cups beans (navy, pinto, black or a mixture)

1 meaty ham bone or a ham steak

Bay Leaf

1 onion, chopped

2 or 3 carrots, chopped

2 or 3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

About 2 quarts water or chicken stock

Wash and sort the beans, throwing out any bad ones.  Put them in a bowl and soak them overnight.  In the morning, or several hours before you want to eat them the next day, drain them and add the 2 quarts water and the vegetables.  You can do this in a pot on the stove or in a crock pot.  Put the ham bone( if you’re using a ham steak, you can add it later.)  Cook until the beans are soft (the time it takes varies by what beans you use.)  Remove the bone and take off the meat and chop.  Discard the bone.  Add the meat back into the soup.  Serve hot. 

This is the same dish made with white beans in America:
I like to serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches or slices of homemade bread.  

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