Potato or Bean Ham Bone Soup

Aside from leftovers (salads, sandwiches, pasta, hash, omelets, casseroles) the best thing about boiled/baked ham is the bone. In our household, the bone means soup, and I can make dozens of different soups with the ham bone. Not surprisingly, my kids are not too keen on cabbage, kale, broccoli, mixed vegetable and cauliflower. But the whole family has two favorites: potato and white bean soup. The ham bone gives both soups a deep, satisfying flavor. You can add the bone as is to the soup, but you may have to pick out pieces of stray meat or fat after the soup has cooked. onions, celery, and ham bone So I often simply tie the ham bone with any stray pieces of ham in a piece of cheesecloth, making it easy to remove and discard. My family prefers the soup smooth and velvety (think puréed) rather than chunky, so I satisfy my appetite for texture by garnishing the soups. ham tied in cheese cloth Often I make an assortment of different garnishes and put them on the table so everyone can garnish their own soup: chopped ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced green onions, diced leftover ham, fresh popcorn, caramelized onions, chopped Italian parsley, chiffonade of fresh basil, julienne of roasted red peppers, dollops of pesto or salsa. For puréeing hot soups there is nothing as simple and efficient as an immersion blender.  It allows you to purée the hot soup right in the cooking pot rather than waiting until the soup cools, ladling it out and puréeing it in batches in a food processor or blender, then putting it back in the pot. The immersion blender, so readily available in so many models today, was first invented in Switzerland by Roger Perrinjaquet, who patented it on March 6, 1950. He called in the barmix (short for “bat et mixe,” or beat and mix). It became standard equipment in European professional kitchens in the 1960s and has been increasingly used by American home cooks since the 1980s. There is, however, a big difference between the restaurant and the home immersion blender. Restaurant blenders have shafts up to two feet long; the shafts of home models are between 10 and 12 inches long. The best variety of potatoes for soup in my opinion is russet. Russet is the white, fluffy-textured baking potato, often sold as Idaho. (All Idaho potatoes are not russet, the label simply means grown in Idaho. Idaho produces the biggest crop of russets, next to Washington State.) I have a second favorite variety for soup: Yukon Gold potatoes. They give the soup a golden hue and delicious flavor. The only other secret to good potato or white bean soup is the cooking liquid. I prefer chicken broth but I simply cannot find the time to make quarts of chicken broth every time I make soup. Chicken bouillon cubes are an easy and inexpensive substitute but I find them too salty and lacking in flavor. So I replace homemade chicken broth with a product that I use often in cooking: Better than Bouillon reduced sodium Chicken Base. It comes in a jar, is made from all-natural ingredients (no chemicals or preservatives or artificial flavors or gluten), and while the label does not state “gluten-free” the information on the company website reassured me. better than bouillion When I make soup I make enough for leftovers, school lunches and to freeze. Both potato and bean soups freeze well.

Potato Ham Bone Soup

Yield: 8 to 10 (12-ounce) servings

Potato Ham Bone Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 inner stalks of celery with leaves, chopped
  • 3 quarts water
  • 3 tablespoons Better than Bouillon reduced sodium chicken base
  • 4 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 1 ham bone

Instructions

  1. In an 8-quart pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and celery and stir. Decrease heat to low, cover pot and sweat vegetables slowly, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent but not brown, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add water and chicken base and stir to dissolve base. Add potatoes and ham bone. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Decrease heat to low and let soup simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through and liquid has reduced somewhat, 1 to 1½ hours.
  3. Remove ham bone. Purée soup in the pot using an immersion blender. (Alternatively, let soup cool; ladle in batches into a food processor or blender and purée, and return to pot.) If the soup is not thick enough, simmer slowly to thicken. If the soup seems too thick, add water as needed.
  4. Lastly, taste for seasoning, adding salt to taste if needed.
  5. Ladle into large soup bowls and garnish with diced ham, chopped parsley or diced tomatoes. Serve with rice crackers if desired.

Notes

Variations: Substitute 4 trimmed, cleaned, and chopped leeks for onions. Substitute sweet Vidalia onions for yellow onions. Substitute 2 pounds of sweet potatoes for 2 pounds of the russet potatoes.

http://gffamilyfood.com/recipes/potato-or-bean-ham-bone-soup/
White Bean Ham Bone Soup

Yield: 8 to 10 (12-ounce) servings

White Bean Ham Bone Soup

Variations: Substitute black beans for white bens Substitute red onions for yellow onions. For white bean soup, add 2 peeled chopped carrots to vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried Great Northern beans (about 2 ½ cups) rinsed, debris discarded
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 inner celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 quarts water
  • 3 tablespoons Better than Bouillon reduced sodium chicken base
  • 1 ham bone

Instructions

  1. In an 8-quart pot combine beans and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir. Cover. Turn off heat and let stand for 2 hours. Drain beans and rinse. Reserve.
  2. Rinse and dry cooking pot. Add oil and heat over medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic and stir. Decrease heat to low, cover pot and sweat vegetables slowly, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent but not brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add water and chicken base and stir to dissolve base. Add reserved beans. Tie the ham bone in cheesecloth and add. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Decrease heat to low and let soup simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are cooked through and liquid has reduced somewhat, 1 to 1½ hours.
  4. Remove ham bone. Purée soup in the pot using an immersion blender. (Alternatively, let soup cool; ladle in batches into a food processor or blender and purée, and return to pot.) If the soup is not thick enough, simmer slowly to thicken. If the soup seems too thick, add water as needed.
  5. Lastly, taste for seasoning, adding salt to taste if needed.
  6. Ladle into large soup bowls and garnish with any of the following thinly sliced green or finely diced red onions that have been soaked in ice water and drained, diced ham, diced roasted red peppers, grated Cheddar cheese. Serve with rice crackers if desired.
http://gffamilyfood.com/recipes/potato-or-bean-ham-bone-soup/

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