This is a wonderful hearty soup, great for using leftover ham from the holidays. Note 1: For a richer-tasting stock, take half of the cooked beans and puree them with the metal blade of your food processor and then add them back to the soup. Note 2: You can soak the beans overnight to speed up the preparation process and omit cooking in the first step of the directions. This soup is comfort food at its best. You will love it. Don't let the number of Steps in the Directions divert you: I always try to make my preparation directions explicit and detailed...to make preparation easier, not more difficult!
- 1 lb dried navy beans (white peas, about 2 cups)
- 3 large carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 3 inch lengths
- 2 stalks celery, washed, de-veined, and cut into 3 inch lengths
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 6 cups water
- 8 ounces sliced ham (or cooked bacon)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 4 teaspoons sour cream (optional)
- sherry wine (optional)
- Wash beans in a colander.
- Sort beans, discarding stones and blemished beans.
- Place beans in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
- Drain beans and return to saucepan.
- In food processor bowl fitted with slicing blade, slice carrots, celery and onion.
- Add carrot-vegetable mixture to beans in saucepan.
- Add 6 cups water.
- Bring mixture to a simmer over high heat.
- Replace slicing food processor blade with metal blade.
- Add ham (or bacon) and pulse until chopped.
- Add ham or bacon to saucepan.
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 1 and 1/2 hours.
- Add sugar, to taste.
- Add salt, white pepper, and pinch of ground nutmeg.
- Serve soup in heated bowls.
- If desired, add 1/2 t sour cream or creme fraice to top each serving, or.
- add dollop of sherry to each serving.