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Old 12-03-2009, 11:29 PM   #1
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ISO Ham and Bean Soup help

I froze my ham shank from turkey day with the idea of making ham and bean soup. I have not, however, ever made ham and bean soup and I could use some tips/ideas. It's supposed to be cold and snowing here tomorrow and I would love a big pot of hot soup to warm me up tomorrow night. Help!

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Old 12-03-2009, 11:47 PM   #2
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i soak my beans over night, just water to cover. next day, drain and put in crock pot, i cover beans with chicken stock, add liquid if you need to to cover beans, then i add ham hock, chopped, carrots,celery,onions,potato. used two different carrots this time. one almost like a parsnip. i also put in bell peppers red and yellow chopped fairly large. i try to keep vegs. fairly large chop. the whole things gets mushy in the time it takes beans to cook. when done take ham off bones and discard bones. i do all this in my crock pot. three to four hours on high . you know your crockpot. heat varies on them.

enjoy, i made mine yesterday and had leftovers tonight. and of course cornbread. good luck.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:56 AM   #3
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I covered my ham shank with water, threw in some onion. Had this simmering in a crockpot until the broth was flavorful. Sometimes I take the meat off the bone and save it for soup, but in this case, the meat didn't have any flavor left. I strained it and have it in my fridge. The fat rises to the top.
I'll use that to cook my beans. I do a quick soak, cover beans with water, bring to a boil, let sit for an hour, drain. Then cook beans in ham broth, then add diced carrots, onion, celery (sometimes will saute to initially soften and take on some color), a bit of clove. taste for seasonings at the end, adding more salt if needed.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:22 AM   #4
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This is how I learned it from my grandmother, who learned it from hers. This is a very old recipe. No measurements, as the recipe was never written down.

Lard
Diced onions
Ham bone and extra ham if the bone is lean
rich homemade chicken stock
Dried Great Northern or Navy beans (cleaned, soaked, & drained)
Hot pepper (good quality cayenne is what I use)
pepper
parsley (add early if dried, later if fresh)
dried bay leaf
salt for later (never cook your beans in water that is salted)

Sautee onions in lard until soft. Add ham and ham bone along with the stock, beans, and seasonings (except salt). Simmer on a hot wood burning stove for a few hours until the beans are starting to split and when you blow on them, the skins peel off. You should be able to squeeze several beans and they are all soft. If not, cook a little longer. Add salt to taste and let simmer a bit to allow the salt to work through the soup. We like ours really thick... like a chowder, with some sweet cornbread. Yum!

The alternative is to not soak your beans, rinse them very well, and just cook them all day long and use the bean broth instead of chicken broth for the richness. This is how my great-grandmother did it because they rarely had chicken broth and the ham flavor was just a bone... no meat. The flavoring all came from the beans and the lard.

ETA: I'm from Indiana, too, so this a recipe from the south central part of Indiana... around Bloomington, which is where my family are from. If it's going to be cold and snowy, then you must be way up north near Michigan!
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:42 AM   #5
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Here's what I put in my navy bean soup.

1 lb Navy Beans
1 Tb Butter
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 Carrot, chopped fine
1 Celery Stalk, chopped fine
4 Garlic, minced
2 Bay Leaves
4 Thyme Sprigs
4 Parsley Stems
1 Ham Bone with ham
or
2 Smoked Pork Hocks
8 C Chicken Stock
1 tsp Salt
TT Black Pepper
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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You can make a darn good soup with canned beans too. Just drain them and use in any recipe you decide to go with!
I add them after I have put together the rest of the ingredients and let them simmer for half an hour or so, then let it simmer for another 20 minutes or so.

And try a teaspoonful of vinegar (white or cider) in your bowl of soup. Adds a nice little bite to the taste!
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:03 AM   #7
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Also pretty yummy when made with split peas.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:09 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the ideas except now I'm starving! I forgot about soaking the beans overnight so I'm glad you explained a quick soak method. I can't wait to make this today. Let you all know how it went! And Velochic, I like in Starke County so I'm not that far north anymore, but I grew up in Lake County and have seen more than my share of lake effect snow :)
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:01 PM   #9
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Sorry it took so long for me to respond! It's the end of the semester and I've been really busy, but I wanted to thank everyone for their great tips. I made the soup for my BF's parents and luckily it turned out delicious! My only regret was not making more soup!
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