If you are short on time to make this soup, it's fine to take a few shortcuts. For instance, you could skip making the stock and use pre-made chicken stock. You might also substitute canned beans for dried. But if you want the most flavorful soup, taking the time to make your own stock will escalate it to new heights. The richness of flavor comes from the beans soaking up the homemade stock as they cook and, of course, the country ham.
- For the Stock:
- 1 large smoked ham hock
- 1 large onion (quartered)
- 1 large stalk celery (cut into 3-inch pieces)
- 1 large carrot (cut into 3-inch pieces)
- 2 bay leaves
- For the Soup:
- 1/2 pound navy beans (dried; picked over)
- 1 country ham steak (fat trimmed off)
- 1/2 onion (coarsely chopped)
- 1/2 small stalk celery (sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds)
- 1 small carrot (sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds)
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings (or olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 quart water (simmering)
- Place ham hock, quartered onion, large pieces of carrot and celery, bay leaves and peppercorns in a large soup pot.
- Add 5 quarts cold water and set over medium heat. Bring to a vigorous simmer (do not boil), reduce heat to low and cover.
- Cook for about three hours. Cool.
- Pour stock through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard vegetables.
- Cut up meat from ham hock into small pieces and add to stock.
- Cover and cool to room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Divide stock and freeze half for later use.
- Heat oven to 300 degrees Farenheight.
- Heat bacon drippings in an ovenproof soup pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, celery, and carrot and saute until onions are translucent.
- Add beans and stock to pot along with all remaining ingredients except water.
- Place pot over medium heat and bring to a vigorous simmer (do not boil).
- Cover and place on a lower, but not the lowest, oven rack. Cook for about 4 hours, checking every hour and adding enough additional hot water to keep beans well covered.
- Remove from oven, adjust seasonings and amount of water. Serve with hot sauce on the side.
Note: This soup freezes well if you want to double it and freeze half. Edited by Joy Nordenstrom
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||4 g|
|Saturated Fat||1 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||1 g|
|Dietary Fiber||15 g|