Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where Have You Bean All My Life?

One reason I never would have made a good vegetarian over the years (aside from the fact that I love meat) is that my taste for beans just wasn't always there.  Of course this statement makes the assumption that to be a vegetarian one must love beans.  Of course this is not necessarily true, but it couldn't hurt, especially if you wanted to be a healthy vegetarian.  I've been eating black beans for years with my favorite Mexican dishes but slowly have grown very fond of all varieties of white beans (Great Northern, cannellini, small white (?), etc.).  Kidney beans not so much.  They are still too big and beany for me.  I've posted a few good white bean recipes on this blog and today I have another (and one more coming soon.  Wow. I'm like some kind of bean freak or something.).  This one is a perfect warming soup for a chilly fall/winter afternoon.  It's quick and delicious.  Two years ago I'm pretty sure I would have never thought that I would get fired up about a White Bean and Ham Soup but here I am.  Already looking forward to the next batch.  I still think that I will never love a split pea soup, for the record.  This recipe is from my beloved Food & Wine website and I think you should whip some up this weekend.  Or tonight.  It only takes 30 minutes!
To get started preheat your oven to 350.  Then melt a tablespoon of butter in a soup pot.  Shred a couple of carrots, smash a clove of garlic and chop an onion.
Cook it in the pot with a few sprigs of thyme and a little coriander.  I am fully aware that this picture is blurry but can't we just call it an action shot?  Cook for about 3 min or until softened.
Then you add some chicken stock, 3 cans of white beans (drained and rinsed) of your choice, along with one piece of bone in smoked ham (1lb).  Bring to a boil  then lower the heat and cook partially covered for 20 minutes.
While the soup is cooking and smelling fantastic, cube a baguette and toss with olive oil and paprika and a touch of salt.  Spread them on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
They may look the same, but now they are crunchy! 
When the 20 minutes has passed, take the ham out and cut it up, remove the thyme sprigs and hit that soup with the immersion blender if you have one.  This makes it a very simple process.  If you don't have one (put it on your Christmas list) puree it in batches in your blender until smooth.
Add the ham back in, top with croutons and scallions and dig in!  This is really good stuff.  So click the link to the Food & Wine website and enjoy.

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