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Ham, Bean and Beer Soup

January 11, 2010
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For New Year’s we baked an eight pound ham for the two of us.  But it wasn’t the prospect of eating warm ham on January 1st that prompted this decision (although it was really good)– it was the visions of ham sandwiches, ham and cheese on crackers, ham quiche and ham and bean soup that we were really excited about. 

Nate was in charge of finding a recipe for ham and bean soup, so naturally he picked the one bean soup recipe out of all the cookbooks that included beer.  It wasn’t exactly my mom’s bean and ham hock soup, but it was warm, flavorful and tasty.  Basically, it was exactly the ham and bean soup we were hoping for.

I don’t know how many of you listen to “A Prairie Home Companion,” but, being from the mid-west, it’s something I grew up listening to every Saturday night, and I still listen to it most Saturdays (or on Sunday morning, when it is replayed at 11 a.m.  Yes, I’m a dork).  Well, this past Saturday night, as Nate and I were in the kitchen making bean soup with our leftover New Year’s ham, Garrison Keillor launched into a tirade about how many decisions are made through indifference.  For example, making an enormous ham on New Year’s (even though you’re going to be stuck with the leftovers for a solid month and you’ll just get tired of it) simply because no one says “No!” or suggests something else.   

Those leftovers are exactly why we baked a ham in the first place.

Garrison Keillor, this one’s for you. 

Ham, Bean and Beer Soup

(Adapted from How to Cook Everything)

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons cumin

3 cups cooked black beans

1 can of beer (we used Coors Light because it was in the fridge and neither of us will ever want to drink it.  Gotta love the left over party-beers.)

3 cups of chicken stock

2 cups diced ham (or as much/little as you want)

Sautee the onions in some oil until soft; add in garlic and cumin and stir until fragrant.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for as long as you want (this could range from half an hour to 2 hours, depending on how thick you like your soup).

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