Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

I think my time canning this fall is already over so I'm going to share a recipe for Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.

So many have been asking what I do with my dried beans. In the days that I could eat tomatoes and peppers I would make a lot of Mexican or Tex Mex dishes. Things like burritos, huevos rancheros, black bean soup, or chili. But for now I'm not eating those solanums, so I've been making soup. My favorite of the non-tomato based soups is ham and bean soup. Now I rarely measure things out for soups but I'll try to give you an estimate of how this one was made.

Daphne's Ham and Beans Soup

  • 1 cup dried beans of your choice.
  • 4 cups chicken of vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • T oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup wine or water
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cubed ham
  • salt to taste

First I pick out my beans. You can use any type of beans for this recipe, but creamier beans would be best. Tiger's Eye beans would be my pick, but lacking those I went for some Ottawa Cranberry beans. If you don't have any interesting beans from the garden, your typical white bean is just fine. The Ottawa Cranberry beans have such history for me. They were first given to me by the Ottawa Gardener (I named them after her as they were of an unknown type of cranberry bean). I've sent them to dozens of people over the years for them to try out. Then I accidentally ate my seed beans. I had a few sad small beans, but they wouldn't have produced well the first year. So Granny came to my rescue and sent them back to me last spring so I could plant them again. I love having some history in my soup bowl.

Soak the beans in water overnight. In the morning drain off the liquid and rinse. Add the beans, broth, and bay leaves to a pot and simmer for an hour.

While the pot is starting to simmer. Chop up your onions, carrots, and celery. As you can see mine are pretty colorful, which will make the soup reddish. The carrots are Purple Haze; the celery is Redventure; and the onions are Copra and Redwing.

A colorful miropoix

Saute the onions until about half translucent then add in the carrots and celery. Saute until the onions are translucent. Deglaze the pan with some white wine or water. I use wine if I have it around and not if I don't. Then toss it into the beans. The beans do not have to be done with their hour yet. In fact it is good if they aren't as the flavors will meld better.

After the hour check if the beans beans are mostly soft and add the ham and parsley. If your beans still aren't soft yet, continue cooking until they are. The older the beans are the more dried out they get and the longer they take to cook. I don't add the ham or salt at the start. Beans can get tough if they are cooked in salt, which is why it is best to use a salt free broth. I make my own and never add anything except chicken. (Though this recipe has no acidic ingredients, beans can also get tough if cooked in acids, so save the tomatoes or lime juice until after they are soft.) Cook for an hour longer until all the flavors are melded.

This recipe can be changed around. Use vegetable broth and no ham for a vegan soup. Or use beef broth and beef for a beef soup. Sometimes I use less onion and sometimes more. If you want to make it a very very rich soup, you can add some cream. Personally I like to eat it with a bit of Greek yogurt. Mmmmmm.


  1. Oh, I love it with those beans and carrots-how colorful! I always just use the old boring Great Northerns. Yours is beautiful!

  2. This looks fabulous - I've only recently started cooking ham soups and have been really enjoying it. i love that you've named the varieties on veg you've used.

  3. What a lovely soup! I have been thinking about making a soup with some of my dry beans. This will be perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  4. YUM! I love soup with beans.

  5. It looks yummy. We don't eat dried beans as much as I think we should. Thanks for sharing your Ham and Beans Soup recipe. It just may be what we need to include more beans in our meals.

  6. GrafixMuse, I've always been in love with dried beans. I know not everyone loves them as much as I do. But they are really good for you. Today I'm going to try to make a black beans and squash soup. I think they would make a great pairing.

  7. Lovely recipe - thanks for sharing it! I am trying to get back in the habit of doing soup at least once a week. This would be a good one to add to my weekly line up.

  8. Daphne great soup recipe. I love to make soup but like you it is hard to give anyone the recipe as I don't measure a lot of anything when cooking.

    We like boiled ham dinners so many times can the broth from the ham and use it when I make the soup.

  9. that soup looks great. i am going to have to give it a try for sure!

  10. That's a very upmarket soup. I think I would love it. The combination of beans, ham and parsley is a classic. How nice that you didn't use the very over-rated coriander (cilantro). And home-grown beans used within a few weeks of drying seem to be so much creamier than shop-bought ones that have probably been hanging around for ages.

  11. The soup sounds wonderful! Now I can't wait for leftover ham from Thanksgiving to make my own.

  12. I had to look it up, but what a cool word "miropaux". I love the colorful carrots. The soup looks delicious.

  13. There's nothing like fresh dried beans! Your beans are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing the recipe!