Bean Soup

The other day my mother-in-law was nice enough to give us a ham bone with the (ample) remains of a Honey Baked Ham still attached to it.

My first thought: whose recipe for Bean Soup should I use first?

My mother-in-law insisted whatever recipe I use should be altered to include potatoes, so I took that to heart (I’d been gifted the Ham with the understanding that leftovers would be shared with her, so I couldn’t discount the inclusion of potatoes).

My own mother (whose bean soup I adored as a kid) also lobbied for potatoes, but said my dad liked carrots and celery in his as well.

Both good starting points that led me to the unavoidable ur-recipe for American Bean Soups: Senate Bean Soup.

For those not in-the-know, I’ll save you from clicking the link above (unless you want the recipe):

Bean soup is on the menu in the Senate’s restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated.

Wikipedia‘s got the goods too.

My modifications:

  1. I soaked the beans for one hour
  2. I used half Navy beans, half Great Northern beans
  3. I made 3/4 of the recipe called for by The United States Senate
  4. I sauteed my non-bean veggies (One sweet onion, one potato, two carrots, one celery rib & 3 cloves of garlic) before adding them to my pot of beans & ham
  5. I used my new cookware (and not a crock pot)
  6. I didn’t take any pictures. ;-(

Had I planned things out in advance, I’d have at least used my iPhone to capture the “magic” of the process and the deliciousness of the end result. Maybe next time I’ll strive to document things like Robert has, though I can’t commit to one new recipe a week.

I’ll say this about the results: both my children (who turned up their noses at the hodge-podge look of the soup) ate heartily and raved about my cooking. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

In the end, Bean Soup isn’t the stuff of foodie daydreams, but on a frigid, snow-bound Sunday in Atlanta, I’ll take comfort over artistry any day. Which is not to say their isn’t an art to watching a pot simmer all afternoon. 😉

I’ll try to post pictures of the leftovers at some point and I’m still working on the whole Smell-O-Vision angle, so you might just have to stop by and try a spoonful if you’d like.

Happy Monday!