After enjoying a few 70 degree days here, we woke to discover that Spring had decided to chill us to the bone again. I thought a nice pot of soup was in order. While preparing the beans and chopping the vegetables, I thought a lot about my dad. This was his favorite meal. He really loved to enjoy a bowl of bean soup along with a wedge of moist corn bread slathered with butter. I know he was up there in heaven smiling down on me as I cooked.
Bean Soup with Ham
1 lb beans (see note below)
32 ounces chicken broth
2 cups water, more if needed (see note below)
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 stalks celery, leafy tops included, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, sliced into rounds
2 cups smoked ham, cut into half inch cubes
2 cups mixed greens, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare beans. Soak them overnight in water, then drain off the soaking water. OR cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Let sit for at least one hour and drain off the water.
About the beans: I used pinto (my dad’s favorite), but you can use any mild-flavored bean you like. Navy, Great Northern, or cannelloni would be good substitutes.
About the water: You might need to add more water during the cooking. The beans should remain covered with liquid. I usually add another cup before the soup is finished.