Hambone soup, that's what my Aunt Sissy called it so that's what I've always called it and it pretty well describes this wonderful, hearty bean concoction. I had a ham bone in the freezer saved just for this purpose and finally a rainy day to enjoy it.
Lots of people are afraid of dried beans and the time it takes to make bean soups from scratch but to my mind there's nothing more satisfying on a cold autumn day than a bowl of Hambone soup and cornbread on the side. Well worth the time and effort. If you're someone who doesn't eat beans because of the toot factor did you know that the more you eat them the more you build up flora in the gut to handle the bean protein? Also I have a tip from Julia Child to reduce the gas - read on.
Any really good bean soup will take two days! You can eat it on the first day and it will be good but it will reach perfection on the second day. I make my plans accordingly. Hence the title of this post.
Quick soak the beans:
I lb of Navy beans or Great Northern beans turned into a sieve and picked over to be sure there are no tiny stones in there. Wash them well and put into a large pot, cover with water at least 2 inches above beans. Bring to boil uncovered for about 2 minutes; cover the pot and set aside off heat for 1 hour. (Julia says: Drain this water completely! This is the part that helps to get rid of the toots.) The beans are now ready to cook. Cover again with fresh cold water and proceed.
Hambone Bean Soup - serves 6
1 lb soaked and drained beans, water to cover
1 ham bone (if you don't have a ham bone you're making some other kind of bean soup)
1 lg onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 tbsp dried herbs of choice (I used Herbes de Provence - thyme, fennel, basil, savory, lavender)
DO NOT USE SALT (salt will toughen your beans and there will probably be plenty in that bone) you can salt at the table if you need to. Always add salt after the beans are soft.
You can add chicken stock in place of water or or ham base into the water and of course the basic method of cooking beans works for all bean recipes just change the flavors.
I put the whole thing in the crock pot on high and walked away. It was ready in about 6 hours, the beans will be soft when pressed against the side of the pot. But I resisted, instead of serving it up I let it cool and refrigerated it. I heated it up the next night and served it with corned bread straight from the skillet. Magic!
Until next time,