Monday, October 26, 2009

Ham and bean soup

I often make soup. The particular ingredients (which I know I've mentioned many times before) just happen to be what is in the fridge.

I on a new diet kick. For the past few years Peter and I have more often than not eaten sandwiches (grilled or on toast) for lunch. Having quit smoking recently my weight is inexorably increasing - about a pound a week. This in spite of no change in my eating habits and gym visits (4 times a week).

It occured to me the other day when Peter went off for the weekend to New Orleans that I should try skipping the sandwiches and getting "soup creative."

The one and only ingredient you absolutely must have for soup is liquid. I prefer low fat/low sodium chicken stock - often on sale at Safeway. Then just rummage around and see what you have. You could do something as simple as open a can of diced tomatoes, saute some onion and garlic, puree that with the tomatoes, add some broth and some seasonings and, voila, it's soup!

On Saturday I took the easy way out and bought one of Safeway's "Signature" soups, Italian wedding soup. I really like it and I was feeling lazy.

Sunday I got creative. I opened a package of ramen noodles and thawed out 4 oz. shrimp, removing their shells. Now, I wanted flavor but less sodium than one gets using the ramen flavor packet. So...I started with 1 cup chicken broth and one cup water, brought it to a boil, added the noodles and, one minute later, the shrimp. Ramen noodles take 3 minutes and the end of which you add the flavoring. I used only half. That's all there was to it.

All right, I'm going on a bit about this. Today's soup is something I dreamed up in a matter minutes early today. Everything that went into this was stuff that was on hand. If you have a trip planned to the store you can, or course, pick up whatever you might want to add to the soup. But I hate to go to the store for just one or two items.

Anyhoo, kohlrabi is unusal. But we had 3 "heads" of it. Also had leftover the jalapeno from a few days ago.

I'd love to take on the challenge of making a soup, Iron Chef style, from a list of ingredients provided by you the readers. (What readers? Nobody comes here.) Bring it on.

Ham and bean soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery (with leaves if possible)
1 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 lb. smoked pork chops
1 14.5 oz. can beans (absolutely any kind)
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chili powder

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, kohlrabi, jalapeno and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Don't allow the vegetation to take on color.

If your pork chops have bones, remove them and add them to the pot for flavor. Cut the pork up into 1/2" cubes. Add the pork and the beans to the pot. Stir and then add broth. Bring to a simmer and then season with salt and pepper and chili powder to taste. Let the soup simmer very slowly for maybe 10 minutes. That's all there is to it.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Great recipe and not so difficult to prepare. In order to make it even tastier I added a few slices of jamoniberico de bellota - aka iberico ham or patanegra- thinly cut. Because iberico has a strong and delicious flavor you do not need much, only 50 grams or 1.8 OZ for four people added once the soup is finished.
You can buy your jamoniberico at buy jamoniberico online and have it delivered to your door.

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