what’s not to love about a heart-warming bowl of bean soup on a fabulous, chill Autumn Day? Satisfying your hunger, easing the pressure on your food budget, and giving you culinary bragging rights in the campground, are three things you can count on with a bowl of bean soup. Did I mention delicious leftovers? Get ready to break some bread.
This is the time of year we winterize our rigs, clean up the grit from summer and polish fibreglass exteriors. Despite all this work, you still need a break and what better way to celebrate the end of the camping season (for most of us) than a steaming bowl of hearty soup?
Autumn and winter see baked beans and bean soup on our menus regularly. We often use cured meats (ham) or a variety of sausages to enhance soups and casseroles. Ham is an excellent example of an addition to these recipes. You can buy ham or cure and smoke your own. There is nothing like homemade molasses-cured and hot-smoked ham hocks to kick the value proposition up several notches. Michael Ruhlman’s book, Charcuterie, is an excellent reference for how to do this independently.
While we’re on baked beans, send me your favourite family recipes, and we’ll share them with our readers. Now back to the soup! This bean soup recipe is a valuable and tasty addition to your winter menus that will satisfy your hunger and ease the stress on your food budget.
White Bean Soup
- A stainless steel or glass bowl large enough to hold a pound of beans covered with water
- Hand-held blender
- Wooden spoon
- Paring knife
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Gram scale
- Cup measures
- 6-quart saucepan
- 1 cup of white kidney beans, Tarbais or Navy beans (rinse and cover in water to soak overnight)
- 250 grams of diced ham from hocks (after cooking with the beans)
- 1 large white onion diced
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 2 cups of celery stalks and leaves, diced
- 1-3 litres of soup stock (Use chicken or beef stock depending on where you want to take the soup’s flavour profile.)
- Black Pepper
- Salt (Be cautious adding salt. While beans can take a lot of salt, the ham will add significantly to the salt.)
- Chopped chives and parsley for garnish (if you like)
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- Rinse beans under cold running water to wash. Pick and remove any funny-looking beans
- Cover in cold water and with room for the beans to triple in size when they rehydrate
- Let beans sit in water overnight
- In the morning drain the beans, add fresh water and bring to a boil
- Maintain a rolling boil for 10 minutes, drain, and cover in cold water
- Add ham hocks and onions, and return to a boil, then simmer until the beans are soft and some of the beans start to burst (About an hour)
- Remove the hocks from the pot and cut the ham from the bone. Dice the ham to about the size of corn kernels
- Add the black pepper and blenderize the beans and onions until the soup is a smooth and creamy consistency
- Add the diced ham back into the pot with the saffron, celery and carrots
- Add 1-3 quarts of stock until the soup is the consistency desired
- Bring back to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes
- Serve a bowl of soup with a fresh loaf of bread, garnish with chopped parsley and chives
It has been a good camping season. Celebrate with soup while you make plans for the 2023 season.