Leftover Remake: Ham and Bean Soup--No Salt Added + Slow Cooker option (Leftover Ham Week)
My spouse took this photo. This flower that has sprouted in a seam between the tiles on the roof of the Believer's Palace in Baghdad, which was actually a decoy building to hide a bunker that was built underneath the palace. On my FB page I've shared what it looked like just to the right of the photo.
To me, this quote exemplifies the best of military spouses. Due to our spouses' careers, we often find ourselves re-creating our lives every few years as we move across the globe. So many military spouses I know are enthusiastic, energetic people genuinely interested in exploring what makes this new location different than the last home.Bloom where you are planted.
It was with this spirit of adventure that I joined the local military spouse group for a tour of Dorothy Lane Market. DLM is an amazing grocery store less than one mile (according to Map My Walk) from my home. You may know of Wegman's--the Northeast US chain of grocery stores known for amazing customer service, happy employees, and terrific products. DLM is a 3 store midwestern version. During our tour of DLM, the thing that struck me was how similar to my kitchen the store is run.
I make no secret that I'm partial to marked down produce, day old bread, and discounted meat and dairy products. I'd noticed that I never saw magical markdown stickers at DLM, and during the tour I learned why. Primarily, most of the baked goods and dairy products are picked up by different shelters each day. But the rest of the stuff? Tom told us it gets made into soups for the hot foods area, into salads, and into prepared foods sold in the ready-to-eat section. Have you ever looked at your fridge and thought, "well, I need to use up that half onion, that baked potato, that bit of chard, that ham . . ."? Can you imagine having an entire produce section/meat department/dairy department at your disposal? Wowza.Stores, they're just like us.
During our tour we went from the top of the store to the basement, checking out different departments along the way and enjoying samples--including amazing fresh mozzarella made by the very talented Tracey. Wow, that on a pizza, with some cherry tomato pesto and CSA farm share spinach? We checked out the kitchens--does anyone other than Hobart make commercial dishwashers? I really appreciated the chance to peek behind the scenes of a place I shop at frequently--all because of a curious military spouse's initiative. Thanks, Aileen!
When we moved in to our home, our neighbors welcomed us with a box of cookies and Killer Brownies® and I was just blown away. Seriously amazing goodies. I'd known that we could walk down to Graeter's ice cream before we moved in, but this DLM store was new to me.
I was delighted when my daughter went Christmas shopping at Dorothy Lane Market. No, she did not give me a Killer Brownie. Instead, she gave me a container of beans + a recipe for Heavenly Ham® Bean Soup. Recently she helped me make the soup--and her interpretation of the seasonings turned it into a delicious soup without any additional salt (the ham is salty enough, we think).
I used to buy the bags of Ham Been soup that contained such a pretty array of beans plus a seasoning packet. I'd follow the recipe, using my leftover ham bone, and make a delicious soup. Then I read the contents of that seasoning packet and resolved to make my soup without it, and it never really turned out right. Something was just off.
I'm so glad I had my daughter help me make this recipe I'm sharing with you today.
There are 2 cool things about this recipe. First, the recipe includes the amounts and kinds of dry beans*, so if I wanted to make up quart jars of my own pretty bean mix for gift giving I could. Second, I got to use a jar of crushed tomatoes that I put up in the fall (which, come to think of it, would make a good pair of jars to give: a jar of crushed tomatoes plus a jar of dried beans plus the recipe to use both to make soup).
*If you want to make your own pretty bean mix, here's what the recipe suggests: 1/2 cup (dry) each of lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, navy beans, black beans, red kidney beans and lima beans. Four cups total of mixed beans.
|Ignore the kale. It was following the beans around like a puppy and would not get out of the shot.|
Ham and Bean Soup (adapted from the Heavenly Ham® Bean Soup recipe)4 cups mixed beans (described above) + water to cover for overnight soaking
1 meaty ham bone
2 large onions, diced small (about 2 cups)
3 quarts water
1 quart crushed tomatoes (or a 28 ounce can if you don't have any put up)
1 large bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large clove garlic, minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Soak beans in water to cover overnight. I started mine early, dithering over trying a quick soak to have soup for dinner or not, and a few of the smaller ones had actually started to sprout by the next morning!
Drain and rinse.
In a pretty purple pot place soaked beans, ham bone, and onions. Pour 3 quarts of water over the top and slowly bring to a boil. Skim off the scum as it appears. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the ham bone, chop the meat when you can handle it, and return meat to the soup.
At this point I tossed the whole thing into the slow cooker and hollered for my daughter--she added the spices while I wrote down her amounts.Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until heated through, another 30 minutes on the stovetop or in the slow cooker on High for 2 hours/Low for 3-4 hours until ready to serve.
Slow Cooker Directions: If I were wanting to make this soup while being gone from home all day, I'd do the following two day process: on day one I'd throw the beans in the pot and cover with water while I was waiting for my morning tea to steep. When I got home in the evening I'd drain and rinse the beans, add the water, ham, and onion, and let it sit on the stove and simmer for 2 hours during the evening. Then I'd refrigerate the result and, in the morning of day two, toss it with the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker for the day (8 hours) on low. I'd love to try this, but my slow cooker is not big enough once I put the beans, onions, and ham bone in it there's barely any additional room for tomatoes and water.
This post is shared at The Clever Chicks Blog Hop at The Chicken Chick Cookin' Canuck's Easter Recipe Link Up, the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up at Gastronomical Sovereignty, What's Cookin' Wednesday at Buns In My Oven, Taste and Tell Thursday, What's In The Box at In Her Chucks and the Farm Girl Blog Fest.