Our holiday ham was put on ice when we rushed out of Chicago after Christmas brunch so we could beat the storm and see my family in Connecticut. Luckily, ham is one of those foods that freezes beautifully and has many lives. I bought the ham for two reasons: it is a great kid-friendly meal and I'm left with a ham bone for soup. Split Pea is my favorite, but I wanted to try a white bean soup. I was pleasantly surprised that this soup cooked so quickly - it took a bit over an hour for the beans to become tender. The cheese rind added a rich flavor to the soup. It is so creamy, even without pureeing the beans. A bit of diced ham was added to finish the soup...a warm and comforting meal for a cold Chicago week.
White Bean and Ham Soup
- 1 pound dried white beans
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Rind from parmesan cheese (make sure to remove label if there is one)
- 1 ham bone (if you don't have a ham bone, try throwing in 2-3 smoked ham hocks)
- 6 carrots, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped ham
Rinse beans, then put in a large stock pot. Cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak overnight.
Drain and rinse beans again.. Heat olive oil in pot. Saute chopped onion for 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add beans, broth, water, bay leaf, rosemary, cheese rind and ham bone. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat (just simmering) for one hour. Beans should be soft. Remove ham bone, bay leaf and cheese rind. Add carrots and cook for 15-20 more minutes until carrots are tender. Stir in chopped ham. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If soup is too thick, thin with a little mor water. Serve with crusty bread.