A good pot of soup is a great vehicle to use up some of the leftovers and extra ingredients after the holidays. Of course, I want to put the bone from our Honey Baked ham to good use — this year it is in a Country Style Bean Soup. Soak about 2 cups of your favorite bean mix for a few hours before adding it to your stock pot with fresh spring water, a ham bone or ham hock, freshly ground pepper and a bouquet garni. Over the course of the next couple of hours you will add chopped celery, onion, whole peeled tomatoes, garlic, corn, diced potatoes and a chicken breast. Once everything has had a chance to cook up the ham bone and chicken breast are removed, and the meat is diced and returned to the pot. I think my favorite thing about making this soup is the enticing aroma that fills the house. Of course, we think that this soup is even better the next day, and I always freeze a quart or so to enjoy on a cold, winter evening.
COLONIAL VIRGINIA COUNTRY STYLE BEAN SOUP (Serves 6)
- 2 cups of assorted beans and peas
- 2 qts. cold tap or spring water
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 meaty country ham hock (3/4 lb.)
- Bouquet Garni
- 2 tsp, salt (or to taste)
- 1-28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 c. chopped onions (2 medium onions)
- 2 c. chopped celery (include some leaves)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 c. diced potatoes
- 1 c. corn
- 8 oz. (1 medium) fresh chicken breast
- Tabasco sauce (optional)
- Sort through and thoroughly wash beans. Soak beans four hours or overnight in water to cover by 2 inches.
- Drain and rinse the beans. In a large pot (6-8 qt. capacity) combine the beans, 2 qts. cold water, black pepper, ham hock and bouquet garni. Cover and bring soup to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cook 1 hour.
- Add salt, tomatoes (chopped, including all the juice) onions, celery, and garlic. Cover and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. For the best flavor, prepare onions, celery and garlic just before adding them to soup.
- Add potatoes, corn and chicken breast. Cover and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for additional 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Remove ham hock, chicken breast, and bouquet garni. Carefully locate and discard bones and fat. Dice meats fine and return them to soup.
From Purely American