To move us all forward, I decided to cook one last winter meal. I opted for a White Bean Soup. Studied a few options I found on the internet and came up with a recipe based on what I had in the house.
First, I need to discuss the ham hock. Never used one before, but I was at a little butcher store near my home a couple weeks ago and a woman was buy 3 or 4 ham hocks having the butcher cut them in half. Being me...I of course had to ask what she was going to use them in. She told me she puts them in a pot, with vegetables and chicken broth and it makes delicious soup.
I stopped in the butcher store this week-end and bought a ham hock, cut it two. Kind of like I knew what I was doing. It worked, I hardly think he suspected this was my first time.
So here is my soup recipe and it was really, really good.
White Bean Soup
¼ cup olive oil
1 ham hock (cut in half)
3 stalks of celery, large dice
3 or 4 carrots, large dice
1 medium onion, large dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
64 ounces chicken broth
1 bay leaf
6 red skin potatos, large dice
1 large jar Northern white beans
½ cup half & half (optional)
10 strips of cooked bacon, diced
Add olive oil to Dutch Oven or Stock Pot, heat on medium heat. Add ham hocks, celery, carrots and onions. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and bay leaf. Heat until boils, and then simmer for 2 hours. Remove ham hocks and let cool. Also remove bay leaf.
Add potatoes and beans and continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about 30-40 minutes.
When ham hocks are cool enough to handle, pull off meat and diced. Add back to soup.
Add half & half and stir. Using an emersion blender, blend soup to thick consistency (you can also run it through your food processor). Dice 5 strips of bacon and add to soup. Use remaining diced bacon to garnish soup for serving.
Now...let's get on with this Spring thing!