Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Oy, just oy ... Virginia Ham Bone Bean and Vegetable Soup

Wednesday - Oy. I shouldn't have eaten the leftover tres leches for breakfast, I shouldn't have gone outside in the sun for 10 minutes, I shouldn't have gotten out of bed at all today. My head is not working, not at all. I wanted to talk about the denial letter from Social Security, and I can't do that either. I can't get technical. I can't cut my hair, although it needs it, badly.

The sun felt good until it didn't and then I had to retreat to the dark, cool cave of my house. Noisy, though - the dogs never shut up, especially when they are happy to see me, or when someone has the nerve to breathe three blocks away.

I'm having trouble forming sentences and conveying ideas. Let's try this again later, shall we?

Yesterday I took my tai chi class, although I started out feeling dreadful. Somehow I stuck it out despite the pain, and I'm glad I did. I felt a little better physically and mentally. If I could remember the forms, I would probably feel even better, but that is not about to happen. My hard drive is full and I can't put a stick drive in my ear, other than to look ridiculous. Put another way, my memory is shot full of more holes than a good block of imported Swiss cheese. But Sifu Tony is extremely patient, and I can follow him. Saturday, though, I was in agony. Rough class, for me, anyway. Rob and Cory had a very good time.

Yesterday I also threw a bunch of stuff into my largest crockpot and spun my prayer wheel for a fine soup, with lots of leftovers for the freezer.  I love having soup in the freezer, because there are times soup is the only food I can get down and keep down. Since I had just finished off, over the period of a week, a quart of creamy tomato soup,  it was time to restock.          

Virginia Ham Bone Bean and Vegeable Soup

First, take out your largest crockpot, the larger the better. Mine is 8 quart. If I was going to make this in my 6 quart, I would cut back on the amounts of vegetables, and possibly reduce the beans by 1/2 cup dried. The day before you plan to make the soup you will need to start soaking the beans.

That is one-half cup each of black beans, baby lima beans. small red beans, and navy beans (which are white, not navy. Jeez ...) I soaked them separately, but you don't have to. If you do not want to buy 4 bags of dried beans, just pick one bean, or a bag of mixed beans, preferably without split peas and/or red lentils. I love them both, but not for this soup. A one-pound bag of beans is approximately 2 cups.

Next, assuming you followed my menu for Thanksgiving dinner, haul that leftover bone out of the freezer and let it defrost overnight in the fridge. You may remember that I prepared a spiral-cut ham using Ina Garten's recipe, so the meat that was still attached to the bone was positively imbued with gorgeous flavor.

So you've got your soaked beans and you've got your defrosted bone. It is now officially the next day, preferably in the morning if you want the soup for dinner. Time to put it all together:

Drain and rinse the beans, then place them in the crockpot, pushing them away from the center. Place one large chopped onion in the center. Sprinkle the following over all:

2 tablespoons turbinado or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried celery seed
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

Then add:

1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 large bone from a Virginia ham with some meat left attached
1 quart water
4 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 cups chicken stock

Cover the crockpot, cook on high for 2 hours.  Remove the bone with tongs, stir the contents, and replace the bone, reversing top to bottom. Then add:

1/2 cup dried green lentils
3 stalk of celery, rough chop
4 carrots, rough chop
4 medium gold potatoes, cut into wedges, and then wedges crosscut in half
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, rough chop

Cover and cook on low for another 5 hours. Remove the bone, then remove any meat still attached to the bone and return the meat to the crockpot. I pulled the ham off in rather large chunks, but you can make it any size you like. Add:

1 cup frozen cut green beans, run under hot water for a minute
1 cup boiling water

Cover and let cook just until the green beans are done. Taste and re-season with any or all of the original seasonings. Tasty!

I call this a soup, but Rob says it is a "stoup", which is a Rachael Ray-ism for a very thick soup that just misses being a stew.  When  I reheat a thick soup for dinner, I usually thin it out a bit with water, stock, broth, or milk, depending on the soup. But that's me.

The Magic are playing the Nets tonight, and although it pains me to say this, "Go Magic, and beat Brooklyn!" Ouch.


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