It's getting cold outside and so it's a good time to start thinking about soup. My favorite soup is Bean and Bacon. On the thick side. With LOADS of crackers. That's just me. But this recipe can be made thin or thick to your liking. It's perfect on a cold evening like we've been having lately. Make extra and freeze in small portions; you'll have dinner ready in no time!
Bean and Bacon Soup
2 cups dried navy beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 ham hock, (the more meat the better)
4 quarts water
1-2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse your beans and then soak overnight, or follow directions on your bag for a quick soak. After soaking, rinse again and drain.
In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Cook the onion, celery and carrot until they start to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans, ham hock and water. Turn to high heat and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low. Cook for 3-4 hours with the lid partially covering the pot. Stir often.
Take the ham hock out of the pot and set aside. Using a blender or food processor, puree about half of the remaining soup mixture and add back to the pot. Take the ham hock and remove the skin, fat and gristle. Take the remaining meat off the bone and finely chop, then add back the pot. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, tasting along the way to get the right amount.
If the soup is too thick you can had hot water to the pot and stir well until it is the right consistency for you. If it is too thin, turn the heat to high and cook uncovered, stirring often until it is thick enough.