Ham and beans are a natural pair. When salty ham and the fibrous beans are combined in a soup they are simply magic. Ham and White Bean Soup with Rosemary adds aromatics rosemary and garlic to create rich flavors. This soup, like most soups and stews, is best made a head of time and refrigerated overnight.
Ham and White Bean Soup with Rosemary
(Mark Kelly, 2014)
Makes about 6 quarts
2 pounds dried white cannellini beans
1 pound dried white navy beans
8 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 very large sprig or two smaller sprigs rosemary
4 quarts fat-free, lower-sodium chicken stock
3 large bay leaves
1 ham bone
3/4 lb. cooked ham in large, thick pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1-inch and leave them in the refrigerator overnight. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onion with olive oil until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Season the onions with salt and pepper. Add the celery and cook for another five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the ham pieces and cook for 5 minutes. Add the beans, rosemary, chicken stock, ham bone and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour, until the beans are very soft.
Remove the rosemary, bay leaves and the ham bone, scraping any remaining meat from the bone back into the soup. Remove about one-third of the beans and some of the broth and pulse in a food processor until coarsely pureed. Return the pureed mixture back to the soup and let stand for at least one hour, or for best results refrigerated overnight, before reheating.
Reheat the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with crusty bread and the hot sauce of choice.