Tag Archives: white bean soup

Hearty White Bean & Smoked Ham Soup

Have you ever have a favorite lunch or dinner place that you max out on or move further away from and then totally forget about for awhile? Then one day something trips a magical memory trigger and you suddenly ask yourself why it’s been forever since their deliciousness has crossed your path?

This happened to me recently and in my case, it’s an extremely tiny and eclectic soup place. A Milwaukee “soup Nazi” of sorts that I worked by for years until my career took me around town for a few years to offices far from his shop. When I moved back to a downtown office almost two years ago, I had all but forgotten about the place – until a few weeks ago. It was one of those first grey, gloomy and freezing pre-winter days and a Whole Foods salad just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed warm, hearty soup and BOOM, memory trigger tripped.

I ordered a Northern Bean and Ham Soup and couldn’t stop thinking about it so I took my own riff on recreating it for home – swapping his rice for barley and tossing in a few more vegetables from the remains of my CSA. Now, even though I’ll be going back again soon, I’ve got a permanent reminder in my files.

white bean and ham soup

White Bean & Ham Soup
8-10oz smoked ham hock, deboned and cubed
1 C pearl barley
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 C swiss chard or kale, stems removed & leaves chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans great Northern white beans
5 C chicken stock
1 C half and half or 2% milk
6 Tbsp butter
kosher salt
black pepper

Prep and chop all vegetables. Melt butter in a large stock pot and once almost melted, add onion, carrot and celery. Saute vegetables over medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Once they begin to soften, add garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes. Add small amounts of chicken stock as needed if vegetables begin to stick to the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom into the stock.

Add ham, beans, barley and remaining stock. Stir to combine and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, then add kale/chard and half and half. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, checking to see that barley is fully cooked. Season well with salt – about 1-2 tsp – until flavors pop.

white bean and smoked ham soup

katie

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Filed under Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal

Smoky White Bean Soup with Rosemary

I have a tendency to experiment with cooking more when the hubs is out of town. He’s not a picky eater by any means but when he sees “bean soup”, “kale salad” or “veggie pesto” on our menu board he tends to think the “healthy” stuff will leave him still hungry and feeling like a rabbit.

As far as veggie-based soups go, this one is pretty hearty and doesn’t even seem veggie-based thanks to the rich beans and smoky bacon. Plus it was easy to make. I’ll be resurrecting this again – whether the hubs is around or not!

white bean soup
Smoky White Bean Soup with Rosemary
5 slices smoked pepper bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 15 oz cans cannellini beans
3 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1 C chopped kale
1 Tbsp sherry
1/3 C parmesan cheese, shredded
1 spring rosemary, chopped
kosher salt, to taste

Place chopped bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until bacon begins to crisp and brown. Add in onion, celery and garlic. Drizzle in olive oil if extra fat is needed to prevent burning. Some browned bits on the bottom of your pan are ideal though! Let vegetables and bacon cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Next, add 1/4 C of chicken broth to the pan and use the moisture to scrape and release browned bits into the liquid. This will add additional flavor to your base. Add in sherry, beans, remaining broth and rosemary. Let simmer over medium low for 10-15 minutes.

Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor to puree soup until smooth. Mix in parmesan and chopped kale and stir. Season well with salt until flavors pop and let simmer until kale is cooked.

Serve with french bread or pretzel rolls.

white bean soup

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Filed under Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal, Quick & Easy