Friday, September 06, 2013

There's a nip in the air...

We've reached that weird shoulder season where you might use the air conditioner one day, then need to start a fire in the wood stove the next. But it has been decidedly autumnal the last few days, so it seemed appropriate to take the first crock pot of soup--Ham, Mayocoba Bean, and Swiss Chard--to school to share with my colleagues.

I didn't take a picture because, well, they ate it all up before I got back from my afternoon class, and because it was pretty much the same formula I use for most of my bean soups, give or take. But people ooh'ed and ahh'ed and inquired after the recipe. Recipe? We don’t need no stinkin’ recipes! Tee hee. I can, however, describe my general methodology, especially for my co-workers that requested it.

So I soaked a pound of beans for a few hours in cold water last evening. Then I brought them to a boil for five minutes, turned off the heat and let the beans just sit in the hot water while I did all my cutting and chopping. I cut up two medium onions, two large stalks of celery, the stems of six stalks of Swiss chard, and four large carrots. I sautéed all of this in two tablespoons of olive oil until tender. Then I threw in four cloves of minced garlic and cooked the mixture for another couple of minutes. I deglazed the pan with a half cup of white wine, and then threw the beans and liquid, sautéed veggies, two bay leaves, a big branch of tarragon, and the big bone from some leftover ham into the crock pot. I filled it to the brim with chicken broth, and also added 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and about a tablespoon of chicken soup base. I cooked all of this overnight on high.

In the morning, I fished out the bay leaves and tarragon bundle, and the ham bone, removing any fat or gristle, and tossing the meaty bits back into the soup. Then I added two additional cups of chopped leftover ham, and the leaves of the Swiss chard (also chopped). You just need to heat the ham through and wilt the greens, and the reserve heat of the crock pot will do the trick. No need to continue cooking. That’s about it. It was YUMMY, if I do say so myself! ;-)

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