This soup may not be the prettiest color-wise, but when you spoon it into your mouth your taste buds will do a happy dance. Proof positive of a good recipe in my house: husband goes in for a second helping and contemplates a third portion before setting down the fork or spoon. This soup is good. At one point it gets pureed, even the ham. However, if you want, reserve some of the ham pieces and after you puree the soup add in pieces of ham after pureeing.
If you follow along with my blog I put a recipe up for Slow Cooker New England Ham. From that dinner you garner the starting base of the soup stock and follow this recipe. Should you not have made the New England Ham or a baked ham you can start the soup base using ham hocks as directed below.
To be clearer than mud the total number of cans of black beans is 3. One can gets added and pureed and the other two, the beans are left whole. And because your original ham can be salty be sure NOT to salt until the very end of the cooking time. Taste it first then decide if you need salt.
FOR THE STOCK:
- 2 ham hocks
- 8-10 cups of water (enough to cover the hocks) or your base stock and 6 cups water
- 1 celery stalk - rough chop
- 1 large carrot - rough chop
- 1 large onion - 1/2 rough chop (and 1/2 finely diced - for later on)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- Put all of the above ingredients in a stock pot or start with the stock base you saved from the New England ham along with the ham bone and about 6 cups of water.
- Over moderately high heat cook until the stock starts to bubble, then turn it down to low. Cover and cook for about 2 1/2 hours.
- Uncover and cook for 1 - 1/2 hours more until the stock has reduced and the ham hock is nice and tender.
- Strain the soup.
- Separate the ham hocks (place in a bowl) and remove the bay leaves and discard them.
- Next, get as much of the actual meat as you can from the hocks. Add the stock and the peppercorns, celery, onion and carrot back into the pot. At this point taste for salt adjusting as necessary.
- Now add in 1 can of black beans that have been drained and rinsed.
- Put the ham pieces from the hock or off your ham bone in the pot and with a hand held blender, blend everything together.
Second phase of the soup:
- 2 - 15.5 oz. can black beans - drained and rinsed
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- 2 1/2 tbsp. garlic - minced
- 2 tsp. granulated garlic
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes or more to taste
- salt to taste
- Add in the above ingredients and allow the soup to simmer for 1 more hour or longer with the cover on. You want to enrich the flavor of the soup. Even with a cover there is some evaporation and therefor concentrated flavor.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with some crusty bread for dipping.