I have been posting a lot of critter stuff lately, and I’ve neglected to post some of the yummy recipes I’ve been concocting. A couple weeks ago, I was beaten down by a massive head cold. I’m not sure where it came from, but it ambushed me that Monday morning. And I mean “hit by a semi truck” sort of ambush. On Tuesday I felt much worse and didn’t feel like eating very much. Mr. Cozy Cottage escaped from the house on his day off for a bike ride, thankfully, because I was also in a grumpy mood. I HATE being sick. We had a leftover ham in the fridge and my mouth kept watering over this concoction I had in my head. So I found my energy and made this white bean and ham soup. I swear, y’all, this soup felt like it was hugging me. I never even got to take a picture of it sitting there pretty in a bowl…it was GONE faster than it took to make it.
White Bean & Ham Soup
Leftover ham with the ham bone (about 2 lbs should be sufficient)
1 lb of beans (I used Great Northern)
2 quarts of water
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 medium carrot, chopped
1-2 Tbsp garlic (when I’m sick I crave more)
Whole bay leaves
This first thing you’re going to do is rinse and sort your beans. Take out all those yucky looking brown ones that just didn’t make it. Mr. Cozy Cottage bought me a pressure cooker, and it is BY FAR the easiest way to cook them. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, follow the instructions on the bag to soak and cook them. If you DO, then dump those bad boys in your pressure cooker. Fill with enough water so they can double. In my pressure cooker, the beans took up 1/4 of the pot, so I filled it with water to the half mark.
Lock the lid and close the vent. Turn on your keep warm setting and just let them do their thing for an hour.
While the beans are soaking in the hot pressure cooker, move on to the next step: bone broth. You’re in luck if you’ve just baked a ham. Cut as much meat off the bone as you can.
Place the ham bone, 2 quarts of water, Italian seasoning, and garlic in the BIGGEST pot you have. There was no way this giant ham bone was going to fit in any pot, so about halfway through the cooking process, I carefully flipped it around with some tongs. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover and maintain the simmer for an hour.
If you’ve timed it right, your beans will be done soaking shortly before the broth is done. They’ll have doubled in size and started to get tender. Now they’ll need to be cooked. For this, I added a couple more cups of water and 1 Tbsp of olive oil and stirred it around a bit. Lock the lid, close the vent, and set the timer for 15 minutes. Yes…they will be done in 15 minutes. It’s the most amazing thing EVER.
By now, your broth should be done with it’s simmering and your house will smell delightful. At this point in the cooking process, I could already breathe better with all those aromatic herbs wafting in the air. Pull out the ham bone and pick off the rest of the ham. Toss the bone. I knew that I was going to want a ton of broth, so I transferred my broth into a larger stock pot. I then added the ham, carrot, and bay leaves. When it comes to bay leaves, you can add as many or as few as you’d like, or omit them completely. You’re not eating them; you’re just using them to season your soup. I used 4. During this step, I also added 4 more cups of water to my soup. I told you I wanted it broth-y! When the beans are done, drain them and add to the soup. Simmer the soup for about an hour, uncovered and stirring occasionally. You probably don’t actually have to stir it, but it was my excuse for smelling the deliciousness that was coming out of that stock pot!
The soup had just finished when Mr. Cozy Cottage returned. The air outside had started to cool off, and my energy levels had been depleted from my hard work in the kitchen. One bowl wasn’t enough. We went back for seconds. For someone who had barely eaten in 24 hours, it stimulated my appetite. Soon after, I drifted into a peaceful sleep, finally feeling better.
I’ve heard that some people like to add Tabasco as a topping for this. Honestly, it doesn’t need it unless you just really want the kick. This soup is delicious by itself, and pairs wonderfully with a side of cornbread. Enjoy!