Monthly Archives: December 2014

Slow Cooker Ham and Navy Bean Soup

By | December 2, 2014

One of the great things about slow cookers is that you can dump a bag of dried beans into the pot and let them cook all day without any prior soaking. Canned beans are certainly convenient, but for flavor and texture I much prefer using dried beans. Here is a super easy but delicious and filling ham and bean soup that can be prepped in just minutes in the morning and then leisurely enjoyed later for dinner.  This soup is absolutely perfect paired with corn bread and good butter. I really like Kerrygold pure Irish butter. It’s worth seeking out.

How to make Slow Cooker Navy Bean Soup

2 & 1/2 quarts water
1 pound Navy Beans
1 large onion cut into thin rings
1 large smoked ham bone/ham hock/pork chop
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste

Rinse navy beans thoroughly with fresh water and pick out any bad beans or foreign objects.

Then, into a 6-quart slow cooker:

Place half the onion slices at the bottom of the slow cooker and spread to distribute.

Put the ham hock in the center of the cooker on top of the onions and add the beans.

Add the rest of the onions and sprinkle the thyme and teaspoon of salt across everything.

Put the bay leaf in the pot and add water.

Turn slow cooker to low and let cook 8 to 10 hours until beans are tender.

Remove bay leaf and ham hock.

Use a fork and knife to shred meat from the bone and return the bits of ham to the slow cooker and stir to incorporate.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

White Bean and Kale Soup

By | December 1, 2014

It seems that kale is all the rage these days, but incorporating greens like kale into soups goes back centuries. It provides a vibrant nutritional boost and crunch that brightens many a soup. Here’ s a simple, hearty white bean and kale soup fortified with kielbasa to turn a basic bowl of soup into a full-on meal. Serve with a hunk of good bread and butter and what else needs to be said?

How to make White Bean and Kale Soup

1 bunch kale, rinsed well in cold water
1/2 pound red potatoes diced ( I leave the skins on, but if you prefer peel them, it’s all good)
1/4 pound kielbasa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Cut stems from kale and dice the remaining leaves into pieces about 1/2 inch in length.

Cut kielbasa into1/2-inch “coins.”

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, add the olive oil and warm over medium heat.

Add onion and saute until clear, about 4 minutes.

Add garlic and continue cooking about 1 minute more.

Toss in the kielbasa pieces and cook for another minute to get some of the flavor into the pot.

Add kale and teaspoon of salt and mix thoroughly to incorporate.

Pour in water and bring everything to a boil.

Turn heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add beans and cook for about 7-10 minutes more.

Taste and add salt as necessary.

Finish with a generous grinding of black pepper and serve.

(I like my soups spicy, and often add a dash or three of hot sauce to this one.)

 

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.