Prep 40 mins
Cook 4 hrs
Another Sunset classic recipe dressed up for company with the addition of a cheese biscuit ring or wreath. You could easily substitute one of the many recipes for Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits on Zaar for the cheese biscuits or even use frozen or canned biscuits to save time.
- 1 lb small dried white beans or 1 lb dried 15 bean mix
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 -2 large ham hocks (about 2 pounds) or 1 -2 large ham shank (about 2 pounds)
- 4 cups regular strength chicken broth
- 1 quart water
- 1 (12 ounce) can beer (or substitute water)
- salt & pepper
Cheese Biscuit Ring
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1⁄2 cup shortening
- 1 cup milk
- Sort through beans, rinse several times and drain. Place in 6-8 quart pot and cover generously with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, let stand at least one hour; drain and discard water. Set beans aside.
- Place oil in the pot and cook the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and parsley over medium heat stirring occasionally until onion is limp, about 10 minutes.
- Add the beans, ham hocks or shank, all the herbs, broth, beer and 1 quart water. My tip: if you shop where there's a friendly butcher in house, ask him to please saw the shank or hocks in half. If not, they'll work as is.
- Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender and falling off the bones and beans are tender about 3 hours.
- Lift out the ham and let stand until cool enough to handle; pull off meat, discarding skin & bones and bay leaf. Chop meat into bite size chunks and set aside. Skim off and discard any fat from surface of soup. This is easier if you refrigerate the soup until the fat solidifies and can easily be removed from the top.
- In a blender or food processor, puree about half of the bean mixture, return to the pot with the whole beans and stir to blend. Reheat and season with salt and pepper to taste and more chopped parsley to garnish. Place in your nicest soup tureen to serve. (It's the one you've always had and never found an occasion to use, remember?).
- CHEESE BISCUIT RING:.
- Cut a circle of waxed or parchment paper one inch wider in diameter than the base of your soup tureen. Grease a 14" x 17" baking sheet and set paper circle in center.
- Cut shortening into all biscuit ingredients except milk using a food processor, a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add milk all at once and pulse processor or stir by hand only until ingredients are moistened and form a ball.
- Drop tablespoon size mounds of dough, edges touching to form a circle of biscuits each just touching the outer edge of the paper circle, making about 18 biscuits. Discard the paper circle.
- Bake biscuits at 450 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes. Slide a spatula under the biscuit ring to loosen and let it cool slightly. Using a wide spatula, carefully slide biscuit ring onto a cutting board or large platter on your table.
- Fill tureen with hot water to warm it, discard water and fill with hot bean soup. Set tureen in the center of the biscuit ring to serve.
- Your guests can either place a biscuit in their individual bowl and ladle soup on top or eat the biscuits on the side with butter.
- Break out that old tureen and use this same biscuit trick with any favorite recipe. Even canned soup would be special served fancy dress style!
- Now, how easy was that?