Saturday, May 3, 2014

from ham to eternity

Well it wasn’t quite eternity, 
but our Easter ham took awhile to whittle down to the bone. 

We’ve eaten ham and hardboiled Easter eggs for weeks.

White beans are a neighborhood staple and more healthy than I realized.

Look at that: ZERO fat, ZERO saturated fat, ZERO trans fat, ZERO cholesterol and almost ONE FOURTH dietary fiber.  And 10% rich in iron. 

Let’s make ham and white bean soup!

I just made this up as I went along. 
We had fennel and big onions, lotsa carrots and celery and tomatoes. 

Crisp some bacon in a thick bottomed pot, 
and chop up a nice, fresh mirepoix with fennel.

Soften the vegetables in the rendered fat over a low heat. 

Keep stirring. 
Add parsley. 
Ground pepper. 
Breathe deep. 

Now start a small stock pot with cold water to cover the carrot peels, onion bits, parsley stems and fennel trimmings. Add a bayleaf and a few peppercorns and simmer covered for an hour. 

We’ll strain this and add some of this stock later.

After the veggies softened I added two liters of rich chicken stock made earlier for the freezer, but the store-bought stuff works fine.

Not everyone has a frozen ham hock on hand either, but I did, so I threw that in there, too. 

The ham bone, smoked hock and bacon will salt it just fine.

Cover it and bubble gently for two hours. 

While it was simmering I cut some fresh corn.

Rinsed and stemmed some spinach.

Cut up some tomatoes.

And washed a can of white GOYA beans. 

Then I strained off the soup and let the broth stand for awhile. 
This step is a pain in the you-know-what.

But it gives you time to pick all the softened ham off the bone while the fat in the broth rises to the top.

I skimmed the fat off and then put the soup back together, this time adding some of the veggie stock we made earlier. 

Taste and adjust seasonings. 
We’re almost done.

Bring that back up to a simmer, return the ham, dump in the next round of fresh ingredients, wilt the spinach and it’s soup!

You ‘can’ too!

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