Hambone Bean Soup
December 15, 2013
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As I mentioned in my recipe for Mulled Cider Ham, one should always buy a bone-in ham to have soup makings when the meat is gone. This is a nice filling example. I make it in a pressure cooker in two runs because I like to puree the vegetables into the broth. Also, doing the ham bone ahead of the beans lets me remove the fat more easily. If you do not have a pressure cooker, just use a large pot and double the cooking time. As for the beans, great northern beans are traditional for bean soup but if you don’t have those, navy, or pea, beans work just as well. However, I think that stronger-flavored beans like kidney beans overwhelm the flavor of the ham.
Meaty hambone – 1
Onion – 1, diced
Carrot – 1, diced
Bay leaves – several
Beans – 1 pound, 500 grams
Water – as needed
Salt and pepper – to taste
Put the ham bone, onion, carrot, and bay leaves into a pressure cooker and fill to the recommended level with water. In mine that comes to a total of 16 cups, about 4 liters. Cook for one hour at high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally then put the entire thing into the refrigerator to chill overnight. (Or you can skip to the next step if you are in a hurry.)
Skim the fat from the top of the broth. (Do not throw it away; it is great for cooking eggs among other things.) Remove the ham bone; pick the meat from it, chop it coarsely, and set it aside. Fish out the bay leaves then puree the carrot and onion with a stick blender.
Rinse the beans and pick through for small stones. Put the beans into the ham broth in the pressure cooker (but do not add the meat yet). Cook for thirty minutes on high pressure. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Return the meat to the pot. Simmer gently until the beans are soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.