Bean soup. Every fall I have this urge to make bean soup from scratch. Just like the soups I had as a child, and those lovely Navy bean soups at White Oak, the Pentagon and the Navy Yard.
Bean soup made creamy without using milk or cream. Tonight it will be “what’s for dinner” and it is definitely not local, except for the ham and the base veggies. I started with a bag of Bob’s Red Mill cranberry beans.
I like these beans for many reasons. I know they aren’t traditional for Navy bean soup, but they are high in protein and potassium and I always have at least one bag of them in the pantry. I get mine at Roots or Davids Natural Market. You can sometimes find them elsewhere. I used the entire bag to make this soup.
I added a quart of Pacific Low Sodium Chicken Stock. I don’t have a quart of homemade stock at the moment, I need to make some, and when I don’t have homemade, this is a staple also in my pantry. I buy it in bulk at Costco.
The veggies in this dish are simple. A medium white onion, diced. One leek, cleaned and cut in pieces. Celery, cut from the entire head of celery in order to mix the leaves and the stalks (about the equivalent of three-four stalks of celery). I want the beans and the ham to be the dominant flavors here so I go easy on the veggies, and I added some oregano, thyme, and parsley, all dried, about 1/2 tbsp of each. I salt to taste, so can’t give an amount. A tsp of Emeril’s Essence, and a tsp of pepper.
The best part of this soup is the smoked ham steaks I bought from TLV Tree Farm a few weeks back. A pound of them. Three slices, two thick and one end with all the smoky goodness.
These ham steaks are lightly smoked, and are bone in. I cubed most of the meat, and definitely included the bone in the pot while cooking, as well as the fat edge.
To serve with the soup tonight, I will choose a big white wine, just don’t know which one. Either of these will work. The Linden 2009 Hardscrabble is a big Burgundian style chardonnay, and the Pearmund Old Vine is from the Meriwether plantings on their property. A bit more oaky than the Linden.
With the soup, I will be serving the olive and feta focaccia I bought at Glenwood Market from the Breadery. It will be heated in the oven on the pizza stone with a drizzle of lemon olive oil from St. Helena Olive Oil Co., my favorite source from Napa.
I may even remember to take pictures tonight, but dinner will be whenever we can squeeze it in, if the contesting husband of mine takes a break. Or, I may be giving him a bowl of soup down in his radio shack and having mine in front of the TV. I’ll just need to cut the focaccia in small strips. If I take pics, I will update my post later with them.
This soup made enough for at least three meals, maybe four, so Monday night will also be a soup night, and the rest will be frozen in a small container to heat up for lunches until it is gone. As for the way to make creamy soup without milk, use the blender. It is a little messy to do, and don’t overfill the blender with hot soup. I blend about a third of the soup, taking care to get mostly beans and avoid chunks of ham. It turns stock and beans into a creamy consistency, but leaving much of it chunky to show what is in it.
Here’s to soup night! Stay warm!
Updated to add the pic of dinner —