Bean Soup for a surprise winter’s day

In the spirit of our sudden and early snows here in the Black Hills, I present to you the mother of all Mom recipes, my mom’s bean soup. It’s incredibly simple and incredibly comforting when you’re surrounded by ice, snow, and whistling winds.

Bean Soup

2 cups (1 lb) dry navy beans
2 quarts water
meaty ham shank OR meaty hambone OR slice of ham (fat trimmed)
1 medium onion, chopped or sliced.
salt and ground pepper (OR 6 whole peppercorns)

Pick beans over and remove pebbles, broken/discolored beans, etc. Pour beans into a large bowl, cover with lots of water, and soak overnight. The next day, pour the soaked beans into a pot and add the two quarts water and hambone. Add 6 whole peppercorns or 1/4 tsp of ground pepper. Let the whole mess simmer until beans are nice and soft, or about 3-3.5 hours. Add water throughout the cooking time to maintain your desired soup consistency. Once the beans have softened, remove the hambone, trim the meat into little chunks, and add the meat back into the pot. Add the chopped/sliced onion, and cook a few minutes more. Salt to taste and serve.

I usually make a half batch for me and A. We like to eat it with soft bread (rather than crackers), with some kind of green veggies on the side. But it’s a very filling soup and can stand alone just fine if you like. It might be a little too fibrous for people in UC flare-mode, so make according to your specific gut grumblings.

P.S. If you have a certain type of friend, you don’t have to toss out that delicious, marrow-filled hambone…

Clio and the aftermath of a hambone

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