Thursday 12/4 On The Homestead

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I’ve found myself pretty busy and tired most of this week.  I’ve enrolled in pulmonary rehab as ordered by my cardiologist at the Heart Failure Clinic.  I had to go on Tuesday,  Wednesday, and tomorrow.  Wednesday’s session was quite tiring and I didn’t do a lot afterwards.  But, I did make ham and bean soup, using some of our food storage.  In the fall we had pressure canned several varieties of dry beans.  I used some of the navy beans from the pantry.

Ham & Bean Soup

1 frozen smoked ham hock (or left over ham and bone, using as much ham as you like

I chopped onion

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 clove minced garlic

2 carrots, sliced

small amount olive oil

2 quarts home canned navy beans

2 – 3 cups ham stock, chicken stock, or water

1 Tbsp tomato paste (I freeze mine by Tablespoon in saran wrap and put into a zip freezer bag)

1 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf (I use fresh from my bay tree and slightly finger crush to release flavor)  Don’t crush a dried bay leaf, though.

Salt & pepper to your taste

Sauté onion, celery.  When they are becoming slightly soft and perhaps translucent, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds, don’t let it brown or burn.   Remove half of veggies to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to add in.

Add stock or water and tomato paste to 1/2 vegetables in pan along with bay leaf, thyme, and ham hock.  Liquid will probably not cover the ham hock, if it doesn’t, just turn ham hock over after an hour.  Bring to boil,  then simmer 2 hours.  I used a ham hock this time and when turning it over I slit it in several places to expose more of the meat to the stock.

After 2 hrs. add the complete 2 quarts of beans with the liquid in the jars, along with the reserved veggies.  Simmer another 1 1/2 hour and make sure beans are soft.  Remember they have been pressure canned; but, they may not have completely cooked in the canner.  If using dry beans, follow package instructions for soaking and cooking.  This will need to be finished and ready to add after the 2 hour simmer.  If using canned navy beans, will need at least 2 large cans, or 3 regular size cans  add at the end of initial simmer.  This will probably only take 45 minutes to simmer after adding.

When beans have 15 minutes left to simmer, taste and add salt and pepper, if needed, and continue simmering another 15 minutes.  I usually add some dried or fresh parsley at this stage.  It adds some vitamins and  makes it look prettier.

Serve hot and enjoy with some homemade bread, maybe purchased baguettes or another crusty bread.

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