White Bean Soup with Ham Recipe
- 1 lb dried cannellini or other white beans, picked over, rinsed and drained*
- 3 Tbsp Metropolitan Market Olive Oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 ham bone, optional
- 2 bay leaves or a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
- 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley or thinly sliced fresh sage leaves, for garnish
- Place beans in a large, heavy soup pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 1 hour. Drain. Dry pot.
- Swirl oil into dry pot and place over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft. Stir in garlic. Add ham bone, bay leaves and enough water to cover beans by 1 inch. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until beans are very tender. Add additional water as needed.
- Remove and discard bay leaves or herb sprigs. Remove ham bone to a bowl and allow to cool slightly. Remove any meat from the bone, chop meat and reserve to add to soup before serving. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency, if desired. (Or, cool the soup and use a blender or food processor to puree part or all of the soup). For a thicker soup, return soup to the stove and boil gently until reduced to desired thickness.
- To serve, reheat soup as needed. Add reserved chopped ham and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley, thyme or thinly sliced sage leaves if desired.
- Cook’s Tips:
- *To save time, use 6 cups canned, drained beans (About 3 1/2 cans). If you don’t have a ham bone add cubes of sautéed ham or chopped, browned Italian sausages just before serving.
- For a vegetarian version: use vegetable broth instead of water in the soup or, add a few Parmesan cheese rinds instead of the ham bone for a flavor booster. Remove rinds before blending soup and serving.