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Monday, December 26, 2011

Ham and Bean Soup (with a Balkan twist)

Sorry about the bad picture, it's taken with my iPhone and backlit.  The tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving, and will stay up until the day after New Years.

I hope all who celebrate have a wonderful Christmas or Chanukkah.  It's always enjoyable, but I'm glad to have the gift making behind me, and am looking forward to relaxing a bit.  I don't think that is going to happen just yet though, we still have a fair amount of cleaning up to do. 
The table that usually lives in my craft room needs to go back upstairs.  Oh and ahem... the rest of the dishes and empties need to go....

If you are like me you have some leftovers to deal with.  We always cook a ham for Christmas and my favorite thing to make is bean soup from the ham bone.  Here is my recipe below.

Ham and Bean Soup (with a Balkan twist)
Mmmm with bread and a nice glass of red wine....

1# of Navy or Great Northern Beans, rinsed 
Water to cover beans by 2-3 inches (about 6 cups, I doubled mine and 12 cups was perfect)
Ham bone and chopped ham ham, ham hocks also work (I also make this with kielbasa, sliced thickly and added about 45 minutes before serving if I don't have ham)
3 carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, chopped (use a variety that holds up well like red, I use Yukon Gold also)
2 celery 
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
5-6 whole peppercorns
Salt to taste 
3 Tbsp olive oil 
1-2 teaspoons Paprika
2 Tbsp flour

 Rinse and pick over beans, add to pot with ham bone or ham hocks, chopped onion, bay leaves and peppercorns and simmer until beans are tender.  You can soak the beans and add fresh water, but this makes a thinner soup.  I like it thick and hardy, so I don't do this.  Remove bone and pick off meat, I like a lot of ham so I usually add chopped ham at this time too.  Remove bay leaves.  Add carrots, celery, potatoes, tomato paste and garilc and simmer until tender.  Add salt to taste.  15 minutes prior to serving, make a roux, heat olive oil, add paprika and stir, add flour making a paste and add to the soup.  I find that adding a little broth and thinning it out some before adding, makes it easier to add.  Simmer to thicken a little. 


  1. This soup sounds sooo good! I am going to remember to come back here and get the recipe when I buy the beans : ) Your tree looks amazing. Must be nice to have such a nice tall ceiling for it.

  2. My favorite part of the Christmas ham is the leftovers and ham bone! Looks great!

  3. I cam to this site hoping to find a recipe which adds a dry red wine to bean and ham hock soup. A strange combination, but the wine is just sitting there. I don't care for dry wines.....shivering...tanic...shivering again.
    But found a delightful blog instead. I loveAlaska via books. Being a little old lady in tennis shoes I can't 'go', so I latch onto others whoi do or are. My son was in Alaska for years in August on the Fourthmile River, near Chicken. A geologist, he was sent to inspect placer mining for polotion. Nevr found a polution area, but did find many many friends with who he sared his government rations of steaks etc, and they their fresh fish etc. He loves Alaska. Sent me the book, Tsha...and well, I'm in love. I don't know what a profile is so will refrain for nwo.