Ham (or Bacon) and Bean Chowder.
My version of this hearty, soup, loaded with navy beans and vegetables. I like plenty of stock to boil the beans in, so they don't scorch so easily, and the stock generally reduces with the brisk simmering. I make a roux to thicken the chowder a bit, but you can certainly skip this step if you prefer, just start with less stock. ** I need to say that I had a really hard time putting this recipe into words. I started out with it years ago, trying to copy Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup, but found my version to be better. (Sorry Campbell's). I also like mine with lots of black pepper, but you can vary that as you like too. Have fun, and enjoy!
- 3 quarts good ham or chicken stock
- 1 lb. navy beans, washed, picked over for rocks or discolored beans, and soaked in plenty of cold water overnight.
- 1/2 lb slab bacon, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup either butter, oil or bacon fat
- 1 cup yellow onion, 1/4 inch dice
- 2 ribs celery, 1/4 inch dice
- 2 carrots, 1/4 inch dice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. herbs de provence seasoning
- 1/4 tsp. cracked chilies
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 4 potatoes, peeled, 1/2 inch dice
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup ketchup (don't you look at me like that, trust me)
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream.
- salt and more pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven/stock pot, combine drained beans with stock and bring to the boil.
- In a sautÃ© pan, over medium heat, render the bacon until crisp and brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside for later.
- Sweat the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the rendered bacon fat, until the onions are translucent.
- Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add these to the stock pot with the beans.
- Reserve fat, and measure it. If there isn't 1/4 cup, then add some canola oil. Set aside.
- Add herbs de province, cracked chilies, bay leaves, and black pepper to the pot. Ah heck, toss in the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce too. (No, I'm still not kidding about the ketchup).
- Turn the heat under the beans down, so that they simmer briskly for about an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, or until nearly done. This is when you add the potatoes.
- Cook until the beans are completely cooked, but not mushy, and the potatoes should be cooked through as well.
- Reheat the fat in the sautÃ© pan over medium heat.
- Add the flour to the hot fat, and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the starchy taste is cooked out of the flour. Add this roux to the soup, and whisk vigorously for a minute or so, just to keep nasty, floury lumps from forming.
- You may take 1/4 of the beans out , put them in a bowl and mash or purÃ©e them, then put them back. This adds nice texture and also helps with the thickening process.
- Add the heavy cream and just heat through.
- Correct seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with the bacon cubes
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