White Bean and Ham Soup
1 lb of white beans - Canellini or Great Northern
2 quarts of water
2-3 lbs of smoked ham shanks (preferred to ham hocks because the shanks have more meat),
each shank cut into 2 or 3 sections
1 cup of diced onions
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, diced
Salt and pepper
Herbes de Provence
Soak the beans in at least 2 quarts of cold water for about 2 hrs. Drain the water.
Put the ham shank pieces in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about an hour. Add the chopped vegetables and beans. Cook for another hour, until the vegetables are soft and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone.
Add several drops of Tabasco to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of herbes de Provence. Serve with a pinch of chopped fresh parsley.
Hearty Winter Soup
1 lb green split peas
1 cup of barley
8 cups of water
2 lbs of ham hocks (preferably with as much meat as possible)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 cups of chopped celery, with tops
2 cups of carrots, chopped
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cayenne pepper
four medium potatoes, quartered
salt and pepper
a big ass pot
Rinse and sort the peas and barley, add to the water, and bring to a boil. Then turn off the heat and let sit for 1/2 hour while you prep the other ingredients. You could add the ham hocks now if you want, but score them first. I would have preferred to use a ham bone, with lots of meat left on it for this soup, but smoked ham hocks are cheap, and add the flavor you're looking for.
After the peas and barley have soaked for a bit, throw in everything but the potatoes and simmer for an hour, skimming off the foam once in awhile, then throw in the potatoes and simmer for another hour.
Pull out the ham hocks, putting whatever meat is on them back into the pot. With a piece of good bread, a bowl of this stuff is an entire meal.
Black Bean Soup
1 lb. Black Beans, Dried
1 cup Onions, shredded
1 cup Carrots, shredded
1 cup Celery, shredded
1 cup Potatoes, shredded
2 or 3 Garlic Cloves, shredded
1 Bay Leaf, large
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, powder
3 tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 - 1 Lemon, cut lengthwise and sliced thin
5 cups Water
Rinse the dried Black Beans in a strainer and remove any stones. Place in a covered electric crock pot (slow cooker). Add 2 cups of boiling water, cover, and set crock pot on "High". Add the Bay leaf and Oregano. After the beans begin to swell add an additional 2 cups of boiling water. When the beans become tender (5-6 hours), add the shredded vegetables, Cayenne Pepper, and 1 additional cup of boiling water. Cook for another hour and taste the soup for flavor and texture. Continue cooking if necessary.
When the soup is ready to eat, add the Lemon Juice and thinly sliced Lemons and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the Lemon slices begin to soften.
Serve and enjoy!
Note: The combination of the Lemon and Hot Pepper is an excellent salt substitute; thus, salt is not included salt in the ingredients list. If someone desires salt, it can be added at the table.