Nouvea Southern Bean Soup, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Monday my phone rang and it was my sweet Daddy on the phone. He said, “Hey Sugar, Daddy has another hambone, and I’ve left more meat on it this time.” (Have I mentioned I’m a Daddy’s girl?)

What Daddy’s girl doesn’t enjoy cooking for her Daddy…especially a Southern gal? I’d made a pot of bean soup for Daddy and Momma a few weeks back. So, when Daddy ran upon a sale of Smithfield spiral cut hams, he picked up one for himself and for us.

He brought over the needed ingredients and I promised him a pot of soup the next day. We just didn’t count on Mother Nature intervening and sending a storm that would knock out our power for 30 hours! Luckily, the ham and bone survived thanks to a gracious neighbor who let us plug in our freezer and fridge to one of his generators.

So, Wednesday was soup day! And, it couldn’t have arrived at a better time since winter did a command performance and we actually had sleet late in the week.

Anytime there’s a good hambone around, it’s good cause for a hearty pot of soup in my humble opinion. I’ve been making bean soup for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never been a fan of plain old beans cooked in water and onion with maybe a ham hock. Boring!

So, I came up with my own bean soup – Nouveau Southern style. It’s a good thing, too because Tall & Handsome really enjoys them…and so does my Daddy.

If you’re not a fan of pinto beans, then you can substitute. I have used a 15 bean mix before and it was wonderful, also. The soup is really easy to make and chances are you have most of the ingredients on your pantry shelves most of the time. This makes enough for several servings, so you could make this for a pot luck or large crowd…or even your Daddy Winking smile.

Nouvea Southern Bean Soup

1 pound dried pinto beans

8 – 10 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 meaty hambone

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds baby carrots, cut in half length wise (you can find these prepackaged in the produce section)

3 nice sized potatoes, cubed (Daddy had a couple of cans of new potatoes, so I used them for his soup this time and they worked great, just add them last)

2 cans Rotel tomatoes (there are many flavors and “heats” to pick from with Rotel so, pick your “poison” as they say) if you prefer you can use regular dice or stewed tomatoes

Black pepper to taste

1. Rinse and wash beans. Soak beans overnight in a stockpot with 10 cups of water or on the same day, bring beans to a boil in 10 cups of water and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and soak for one hour.

2. Drain and rinse beans. (This reduces the “gas” producing effect of the beans.)

3. Add the hambone to the pot, then return the beans to the pot.

4. Add the chicken stock. Start with about 8 or 9 cups and add extra if needed.

5. Add chopped onion and minced garlic. (Do not add any acidic ingredient at this stage as it will prevent the beans from becoming tender.) Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans start to become tender. Add extra chicken broth if needed.

6. When beans start to become tender add baby carrots, cubed potatoes and tomatoes. Season with black pepper. (You probably will not need salt because the salt from the ham will be enough.)

7. Continue cooking until vegetables are fork tender.

Served with cornbread or New Mexico Spoon Bread.


Nouv Southern Bean Soup

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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