At first this was going to be a blog about Ham and Bean soup, but it occurs to me that I should start at the beginning. Spiral cut ham. Now, I’ve had lovely hams given to me from family and corporate clients, and I’ve bought my fair share of the red wrapped ham that are in every grocery store, but my favorite is from Fred Meyer. Costco hams run a close second. I always opt for the smoked versions, vs. honey baked, because the glaze I make makes up for any sweetness lost in the smoked, and the smoky hams have that great flavor, which comes in handy later when I make sandwiches and soups with them.
HAM TIP #1
My favorite hint when cooking the ham, is to make take the glaze packet, and mix it on the stove with a half a can of Coca Cola. Yes, I think it must be Coke, or Dr. Pepper. Do NOT use diet….it won’t carmelize like the real thing. Cook it on the stove, bringing it to a rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until it is a thick syrup….then let it cool and finally add it during the last 20 minutes of the Ham baking process. the result is the perfect spicy sweet thick crust that sets the ham apart from others.
HAM TIP #2
Leftover ham? My kids LIVE for leftover ham. The favorite is simple…..ham, cheese (Always Bandon Cheddar for me) on hawaiian bread. If you haven’t had ham and cheese on Hawaiian bread, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The sweetness matches teh smokiness of the ham and just a touch of Boars Head mustard spread balances it all out perfectly with the cheese.
HAM TIP #3
And finally, the reason I posted the blog today in the first place: Ham and Bean soup. It’s the perfect way to use up the last of the ham, including the ham bone. This is going to be when buying the smoked ham pays off big time, because it imparts a nice smokey flavor in the soup. The recipe is easy, but it’s all guestimating for me!!
Ham and Bean Soup
- 3 cups dry great northern white beans, soaked overnight
- 1 ham bone
- 2 1/2 cups cubed ham
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 2 cups bloody mary mix (can substitute V8)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 7 cups water
Place beans in large stockpot. Cover with water to 2 inches over beans and soak overnight. Drain the soaking water from the beans. Cover beans with fresh water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Drain again, discarding water. Remove all visible fat from ham bone. In large stockpot, sweat onions with olive oil until onions are just barely carmelized. Combine beans, ham bone, ham, onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, bloody mary mix, Worcestershire, mustard, chili powder, bay leaves, pepper, parsley, and water stock in stockpot. Add chicken stock to cover. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 8 hours. Add remaining chicken stock to the pot throughout the day as needed to keep liquid level up. After about 8 hours, remove the ham bone, and add salt as needed. Continue simmering another 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.
I always serve soups like this with grilled cheese sandwiches. My favorite is made with four cheeses and served on Dave’s Killer Good Seed Bread