I like to pour the ham drippings into a container and put them in the refrigerator to let the fat harden. I then add the drippings to the water for the soup to enhance the flavor. This particular ham bone had lots of meat on it so there was plenty for the soup.
I like lots of veggies in my soups so add onion, celery, carrots, red pepper and even cubed potatoes on occasion. People who don’t eat some veggies served other ways seem to eat them in soup. Vary the type and amount of herb to your liking.
Normally I make this soup a day ahead, let it sit in the fridge over night, skim off any fat that is on the top, reheat the soup and serve it with hot corn bread to sop up the liquid in the bottom of the soup bowl.
1 lb. favorite white bean, pick over and discard any small rocks, etc. that might be in the beans
2 qt. water for soaking
1 ham bone
2 qt. water for cooking soup
any defatted ham drippings you might have (opt.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves
1 medium onion chopped
1 c, diced celery
1 c. diced carrots
1/3 c. diced red pepper (opt.)
1 t. marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
additional water if desired
Pour 2 qt. water over beans and let stand over night. Drain and rinse OR bring beans and water to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Cover and let soak 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Put beans in cooking pot and cover with 2 qts. water. Add any ham drippings and mix well. Nestle ham bone in center of beans. Add minced garlic and bay leaves. Bring pot to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer 1 hour or until beans are crisp tender. Add onion, celery, carrots, red pepper, marjoram and continue cooking until vegetables are tender, about 1 more hour. At about 45 minutes, remove ham bone let cool and remove any ham still left clinging to the bone. Add ham back into soup pot. Discard ham bone. Add additional water if soup seems a little thick. Heat through. Ladle into bowls and serve. I usually let each person season their own bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Easily serves 6 to 8.
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