October 22, 2013

White Beans and Virginia Ham Soup

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White Beans and Virginia Ham Soup

It's early Autumn and we're having really cold mornings. Yesterday it was 36°F, I could see my breath while cleaning the yard for the winter. Tomorrow and the next 2 mornings it will be even colder to almost freezing. Darn this global warming thing! /sarc

I'm not complaining because I prefer cold season than hot. I get to cook and have a variety of soups that I could not enjoy during the hot summer days. One of the simplest and most nutritious soups is beans with a little ham. I used a small piece of Virginia ham which is a good substitute for salt pork when I don't want the smoked flavor of ham. I followed a very simple Spanish recipe which is easy to make, doesn't have lots of ingredients, and great with grilled cheese sandwich.

White Beans and Virginia Ham Soup
½ pound navy beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup cubed Virginia ham or salt pork
½ cup sliced onions
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon sweet Spanish pimentón (paprika)
1 sprig fresh Italian parsley
¾ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Wash beans and soak in water in a Dutch oven for 2 hours. Drain, add fresh water to cover 4 inches, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer, covered for 1 hour. 
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and saute ham until golden. Add onions and garlic and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the mixture to the Dutch oven together with bay leaf and parsley. Simmer for 1 hour. Add salt and simmer for another hour to 2 hours or until beans are very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with crusty bread or grilled Manchego cheese sandwich.


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