Cooking On A Budget: Ham and Cannellini Bean Soup

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ham and Cannellini Bean Soup


This is an excellent way to use left over ham - I call these dishes makeover meals. Using left over baked ham from a dinner, I decided to create a different soup other than brown lentil or split pea. There was quite a bit of the ham left over so after slicing some for sandwiches, I cut away the outer rind that had been basted along with as much fat as possible. What remained was the bones and a good portion of ham to make the soup stock.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (If your ham was overly salty, you may want to omit this for now.)
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander seed
  1. Place the ham in an 8 quart pot or suitable sized pot and cover with water to begin the cooking process. Then add in the above spices.
  2. Let the stock come up to a good bubble and turn it down to low, cover it with a lid and let it simmer on the stove for about 3 hours.( Remember, this is a labor of love. It takes time to make a down hearty good soup and the stock is an important component.) Therefore let the stock cook and do its' thing. There will be some steam escaping and the stock will reduce in the pot by and inch or so. No problem - that's concentrating the flavor.
  3. After the stock is done, strain it in a fine mesh strainer. You want to capture most of the seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves and of course bones and meat.
  4. Take the bones and pull off what ever meat you want and discard the rest. (I also took the strained stock and poured it into my fat strainer to remove as much of the fat that develops on top of the stock.) If you don't have a fat strainer, you could always refrigerate the stock overnight and the next day remove the layer of cold fat and finish off the soup.
  5. Place the stock back in your stock pot and add the following ingredients:
  • 4-5 cups ham - bite sized chunks and any shredded ham you got after making the stock
  • 1 medium sweet onion - finely chopped (I used my food processor for this.) 
  • 2 stalks celery - finely chopped (I used my food processor for this.)
  • 5 lrg. carrots - peeled and sliced
  • 2 - 15 oz. cans cannellini beans - drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. chopped garlic - or more to taste
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Salt to taste - check for this at the end of the cooking time.

Cook the soup for at least an hour or longer. I ended up letting it cool down, refrigerating it and pulled it out the next day. If you find it too thick add a touch of water to reconstitute.

What you end up with is a hearty, healthy and delicious soup.
It is definitely a great way of using left over ham and another
tasty left over make over meal.

The amount of soup you end up with depends on how much condensation there is during the cooking process. I ended up with at least 10 portions of soup. Also, any left over soup can be placed in a container and refrigerated or put in the freezer for reheating at a later date.  Although it freezes well, I would try and use the frozen soup within 3-4 weeks.
And one last point: I purchased the ham on sale at .99 cents a pound. It weighed 8.83# and cost $8.73. We got a delicious meal for 3 adults, left overs for about 6 sandwiches and this big pot of soup. Definitely a cooking on a budget and great recipes on a budget meals.
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