Ham and Bean Soup

Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 036Fall and winter are the best times of the year to eat soups. I started making them in September, usually twice a week.  It is the easiest thing to make.  Anyone who says they can’t cook will be able to make soup.  Trust me.!  Basically all you do is open up your fridge and see what you have, put it in a pot with some water and let it simmer.  After a couple of hours, you have soup.  The health benefits of soup are tremendous especially if you use the bones of the meat you decide to use.  Get ready to make this one and in a couple of hours you have a meal in a bowl, with very little effort. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 027Soak 1 cup of beans of your choice.  I used navy beans.  I don’t worry too much about soaking them because when you put them in the pot all you have to do is cook the soup a bit longer to soften your beans.  Or you could use a can of beans and save yourself from this step. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 025This time of the year is great for making this soup because during the Christmas season a lot of people have ham. Even if you freeze it for future use. So just save your bone and some of the meat on the bone and place it into 2 to 3 liters of water. Bring to a boil.  You will have some scum to remove.  When it stops forming then add all of your veggies. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 028Chop and onion, 3 celery sticks and 2 potatoes. The carrots you can leave whole or chop. The choice is yours.  I usually use the long regular carrots but this time I had these small ones around so I like to use them up. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 029Add all the veggies, beans, 1 or 2 garlic cloves, 1-2 tablespoons of salt and pepper and 2 bay leaves to the water with the ham bone.  When this all comes to a boil, turn heat to a simmer  partially covered and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Always checking for scum to remove.  After about 1/2 hour it will stop forming. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 030The soup will go cloudy but not to worry.  This is a good thing. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 031I decided to add some frozen spinach which I did chop.  Not eating enough vegetables and this is a perfect way to get more into your diet. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 032If you add the spinach at the end then cook the soup for about another 1/2 hour.  You can add this at the beginning.  I just decided too late to do that. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 035Just before soup is ready REMOVE the bay leaves and with a potato masher go around the pot and mash a few veggies, leaving some whole.  At this point you can also pull the meat away from the bone.  If you wanted you could also dissolve some 1/4 cup of flour in 1 cup of water, stir so there are no lumps and add it to the soup.  Mixing until the soup has slightly thickened. Soup - Lobster Chowder - Ham and Bean 036Pour into a bowl and ta da!  You have a delicious meal.  Serve with a salad, crusty bread and your good to go. RECIPE INGREDIENTS 1 Ham Bone With Some Of The Meat 1 Cup Of Soaked Dried Beans, Drained 1 Cup Of Carrots 1 Chopped Onion 3 Sticks Of Chopped Celery 3 Balls Of Chopped Frozen Spinach 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped 2 Bay Leaves 1 Tablespoon Of Salt And Pepper (Add More Later, To Taste) 3 Liters Of Water Or More If You Like INSTRUCTIONS Soak your beans in a large amount of water overnight.  Place the ham bone into 3 liters of water.  Bring to a boil and keep removing the scum that forms.  Add all of your chopped veggies, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper and drained beans.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  You can cook it longer.  I have from time to time also added boiling water to this if it has cooked for a very long time. Today actually it cooked for 5 hours at a low simmer.  DELICIOUS! Remove the bay leaves. With a potato masher, mash some of the veggies and this would be the point you would add your flour, if you so decided to. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread. Enjoy!

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