So much ham
We ordered a bone in “quarter ham” from a local farm for Easter. Growing up, we always had ham for Easter dinner. I don’t know where the tradition comes from (Oh Google… Be a dear and fetch that info for me, would you?). Okay, so it’s an American thing. The fresh pork slaughtered in the autumn wouldn’t keep until spring, so what wasn’t consumed was cured. Curing is not a quick process, so the first hams would be ready around the same time that Easter came along, making them the obvious choice to be the meat at the meal. Thank you, Google. Anyway, we picked up our ham on Thursday. We’d ordered just a quarter because Easter dinner is just the four of us. We don’t do a big family thing for holidays outside of Christmas. My husband put the bag in the back of the van, so I didn’t see it until we got home. What I did see, when I hoisted the bag onto the table and looked inside was a generous sized piece of meat, larger than both my childrens’ heads. Enough for several meals for our small family, to be sure!
It had been balmy on the weekend. The kids enjoyed an Easter egg hunt at the inlaws place on Saturday in just long sleeves and sunglasses. But today was cold again. April Fool’s my…. anyway. And my poor husband is working outside the next few days. On the waterfront, no less. So today seemed like a good day to take the meaty bone from the leftovers and make soup with it. I also quick soaked some organic navy beans that we bought from a local food co-op. The resulting soup warmed my husband when he got home from work, and will make a hearty lunch over the next few days.
Hearty Ham and White Bean Soup
*The amounts are approximate* For the stock 1 meaty ham bone 2 carrots, chopped 1 onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, halved 1 bay leaf 20 peppercorns water, to cover generously (I used about 8-10 cups) For the soup 2-3 cups dry navy beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked 1 tablespoon fat (either from the ham stock, or use oil/butter/coconut oil) 2 carrots, diced 1 onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tsp dry mustard powder 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional) 1 tsp dry thyme meat shredded from the ham bone salt and pepper to taste To make the stock, cover all of the ingredients with water in a large, heavy pot and let simmer for 2 hours. Skim any foam and fat that floats up along the way. Strain and reserve, setting aside the bone to cool. Once it’s cooled, remove the meat and shred it into pieces that are a little bigger than you’d eat. They will break down a bit during the second cooking. Wipe out the stock pot and get the fat going over medium heat. Saute the carrots, onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the mustard powder, turmeric and thyme, and then add the reserved stock and beans. Stir in the meat and let simmer for an hour until the beans are tender. Check for seasoning and serve with your favourite buns or biscuits, and a dash of hot sauce, if you like. Serves a lot.