Monthly Archives: April 2021

Green Enchiladas with Chicken and Cheese (Enchiladas Verdes)

We were looking forward to making these enchiladas because Mexican cuisine is a fave, and a good green sauce can’t be beat. From Milk Street, we noticed right quick that we’d make some changes. Starting with a small rotisserie chicken, we picked off and chopped a little over two cups worth of meat, using the entire amount instead of just the 1 1/2 cups originally called for. In the same vein, we increased the whole-milk mozzarella cheese from 6 ounces to 8. Altogether it was the perfect amount of filling for eight tortillas.

In Step 2, the directions indicate to cook the veggies until well-browned and beginning to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. With all of that liquid in the pan, the veggies certainly softened, but did not brown, so we went ahead anyway. As an added pop of color, we topped the enchiladas with shredded Mexican cheese and placed the uncovered baking dish back into the hot oven for a final five minutes. All of our changes are included in the recipe below.

To make the filling for these enchiladas, use leftover roasted or grilled chicken or meat from a store-bought rotisserie bird (our choice this time around). You also can poach your own chicken. To do so, place 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, cover with water or chicken broth, bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook until the thickest part of the meat registers 160°F, about 20 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the liquid until just warm to the touch, then finely chop the meat.

Of course poaching your own chicken will add time to the process. Speaking of which, Milk Street noted the entire start to finish was supposed to be 45 minutes. No way, José. It took us at least twice that amount of time! There is a lot of prep work which took a good thirty minutes in itself. Oh, but they were so worth it!

Tortilla Tip: Don’t skip the step of brushing the tortillas with oil and briefly warming them in the oven. If the tortillas are filled and rolled straight from the package, they will crack and tear. But take care not to overheat them, which will dry them out and make them too brittle to roll.

Green Enchiladas with Chicken and Cheese (Enchiladas Verdes)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium poblano chilies (about 12 oz.), stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb. tomatillos, husked, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 8 oz. whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. hot sauce (see note)
  • 8 6-in. corn tortillas
  • 4 oz. shredded Mexican cheese fr topping (optional)
  • Lime wedges, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil, the poblanos, tomatillos, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well-browned and beginning to soften, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the cilantro and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish; set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, cheese, hot sauce, 1½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  6. Brush both sides of the tortillas with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet (its fine to overlap them slightly). Cover tightly with foil and warm in the oven just until soft and pliable, about 3 minutes.
  7. Uncover the tortillas; reserve the foil. Lay the tortillas out on a large cutting board or clean counter. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among the tortillas (about 3 heaping tablespoons each), arranging and pressing the filling in a line along the bottom edge of each tortilla.
  8. Working one at a time, roll up the tortillas to enclose the filling and place seam side down in a tight row down the center of the prepared baking dish. Spoon ½ cup of the sauce over the enchiladas. Cover tightly with the reserved foil and bake until the cheese begins to melt out of the ends, about 15 minutes.
  9. Uncover and spread ½ cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the shredded Mexican cheese. Return to the oven for 5 minutes uncovered.
  10. Serve with lime wedges and the remaining sauce.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Tres Leche Cake Adventure

It was son David’s 29th birthday and he requested a Tres Leche Cake as his dessert choice. Well, neither of us had ever made one, but you know how we enjoy a culinary challenge—and boy, were we thrown a curve ball or two…

Since there were going to be only four of us for dinner (and one of us doesn’t eat dessert), the ability to easily halve the ingredients was a game changer—after all, the full recipe feeds up to 16!

So the half-cake batter was made exactly as noted in the directions and put in the preheated oven. After 25 minutes, it was no where near done. At 30 minutes, the center was still jiggly and The Hubs used a toothpick to test for doneness—still too wet. We added another 10 minutes which rendered the cake a light golden color, but also caused the middle to sink 😦

Several other reviewers mentioned that when they made the half version, they also experienced sunken centers. We think perhaps poking it for doneness caused it to deflate, maybe? The Hubs first inclination was to deep-six it and start over but that would have meant a trip to the grocery store for more ingredients. So after some quick rethinking, we decided to move forward.

The milk amounts were cut in half too, and most of the combination was poured over the cooled “forked” cake. Because of the inward slope, the liquid was drizzled around the top edges and the pan was tipped and turned to try and keep as much of the moisture near the top instead of all gathering in the sunken center. We used the majority of the milk mixture to fully saturate the cake, tossing the remainder. Into the fridge it went for a good nights rest.

The whipped topping would not suffice if we made only half of the amount because of that sunken middle, thus the decision to make the entire amount. Fiasco number two. The cream never got stiff, in fact, after switching from a hand held mixer to the mighty Kitchen Aid with whipping attachment, it only got more watery, so down the drain it went, and to the grocery store The Mister went.

Our next topping attempt was going to be an altogether different recipe found in Fine Cooking, which sounded like the perfect antidote. But of course, when The Hubs got to the store (the only one that happened to be open on Easter Sunday), they were completely out of heavy cream! Defeated, he just grabbed a can of ready whip and called it a day…

David commented that “It’s best to preface this blog by mentioning that Tres Leche is not a presentation-worthy cake, but it is a delicious one, with originality and authenticity.” (Maybe if you discount that canned whipped topping.) The Hubs said “I always used to have a glass of milk with cake. This was like pouring the milk on the cake and then eating it.” And girlfriend Vikki noted “It’s like cotton candy melting in your mouth—a little more cakey, but it’s better that way.”

No lying, the cake would not have won any medals in a bake-off, but all those that ate it, loved the taste. I’ve learned in life you can’t always have a win-win, but you can learn from mishaps and move on. The Hubs is determined to make it again—next time around with a few changes.

Notes: This recipe can be halved. If doing so, bake the cake in an ungreased 8- by 8-inch baking dish and reduce baking time to 25 to 30 minutes. (Although in our case, it took 40 minutes!) Be sure to thoroughly chill the cake prior to serving. You could even pop it in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes right beforehand.

Tres Leche Cake

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients (whole cake)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 (12-oz.) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the topping:

  • 2-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder in small bowl; set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer, beat egg whites and salt with whisk attachment on medium-low speed until whites begin to froth, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat whites until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture may look a bit thick.
  4. Add egg yolks and beat just until combined. Decrease speed to low and add flour in three additions, alternating with the milk, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and beat just until combined.
  5. Scrape batter into an ungreased 13- by 9-inch baking dish (or 8- by 8-inch for a half cake). Bake until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer cake to cooling rack and cool completely in pan, 60 to 90 minutes.
  6. Once cooled, poke cake all over with fork. Combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in large bowl. Pour mixture evenly all over cake. While cake soaks, make whipped cream.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer on medium speed. When it begins to thicken, slowly add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat just until it holds firm peaks, 3 to 4 minutes (be careful not to overbeat).
  8. Spread whipped cream over cake and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours. Serve.

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Recipe is a mash-up between one from María Del Mar Cuadra (cake) and Fany Gerson (whipped topping)

Pasta Alla Genovese

Pasta without tomato sauce or garlic?? According to Milk Street where we found this dish, they say don’t be fooled by the name. Ironically, it is not pasta with Genovese basil pesto, nor is it from Genoa. Rather, the sauce is an onion-based ragù and a classic in the Neapolitan culinary repertoire.

Some versions of pasta alla genovese are meat-free, others include a small amount of beef or veal as a flavoring, but never as a key ingredient. Taking a cue from A Cucina Ra Casa Mia in Naples, this recipe uses boneless beef short ribs. The beef is combined, cut into chunks, with carrots, celery and a mountain of onions in a Dutch oven. The pot goes into the oven, where the heat is slow and steady, until the meat is rendered tender enough to fall apart when prodded with a fork.

TIPS: Slicing 3 pounds of onions by hand is a good opportunity to hone your knife skills, but if you prefer, they can be sliced on a mandoline. The ragù can be made up to three days ahead, then reheated gently before tossing with just-cooked pasta.

Don’t be concerned that there’s so little liquid in the pot after adding the onions and beef. Warmed by the oven heat, the vegetables and meat will release moisture that becomes the braising liquid in the covered pot. But for the second half of cooking, please don’t forget to uncover the pot. This allows some of that liquid to evaporate for a richer, more concentrated flavor and consistency.

Pasta Alla Genovese

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 lbs. yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 1½ lbs. boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • ¾ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2-inch piece Parmesan rind, plus 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. pasta such as rigatoni or penne rigati
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F with the rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and celery, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by about half, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the onions, beef, pepper flakes, Parmesan rind, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper, then stir to combine. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven and stir. Return to the oven, uncovered, and cook until stewy and the meat falls apart when pressed with a fork, about another 1½ hours. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Cover and set aside while you cook the pasta.
  6. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  7. Add the pasta to the Dutch oven and toss to combine with the sauce, adding about ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Add the parsley and half the grated Parmesan, then toss again; add more reserved water as needed so the sauce coats the pasta. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve with the remaining Parmesan.

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Recipe by  Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Za’atar Chicken and Lentils

This classic Middle Eastern za’atar recipe is a one pot meal. But what exactly is za’atar seasoning?  And what goes in it? Well, the word za’atar (pronounced “zah-tahr”) literally translates to mean “wild thyme” in Arabic. But it’s better known as a seasoning blend, whose ingredients vary slightly from country to country across the Middle East.

Most home chefs won’t necessarily have za’atar seasoning on hand, nor did we, so The Hubs found a version on “Gimme Some Oven” website—now isn’t that a clever name! The three main ingredients are thyme, sesame seeds and sumac. It’s very versatile and can be used on anything from meat, fish, veggies, dips, salads, soups or even popcorn!

What’s nice about this dish if you have diners in your household who have different preferences regarding both white and dark meat, like us, it’s interchangeable. Even though the original recipe calls for only dark meat, we used a combination of 4 thighs, and 2 breast halves that were chopped into two pieces each (producing 8 pieces total, 2 more than the recipe calls for).

We only used 2 tablespoons of the za’atar seasoning to sprinkle on the chicken, which was more than plenty. The remaining one tablespoon was added to the pot after the onion and carrots were cooked down.

A little trick we learned when braising both white and dark meat, is to set the white meat on top of the thighs for a majority of the cooking time. This helps ensure the breast pieces will not overdone and rubbery. Then nestle them into the liquid for the last 15 minutes or so.

Za’atar Chicken and Lentils

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, thighs and/or breasts, excess fat trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp. za’atar (see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup bite-size pieces carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, whole or halved
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh thyme sprigs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season chicken with za’atar. In a deep oven-going skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until brown. Transfer to a plate. Don’t crowd the pot, you may have to do this in two batches.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and carrots to pot. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute.
  3. Stir in broth, lentils, and tomato paste. Return chicken and juices to pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover; braise in oven 45 to 55 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender (at least 175°F).
  4. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm. Strain remaining mixture, reserving liquid.
  5. Add lentils and vegetables to chicken on platter; cover.
  6. Return liquid to pot. Boil over medium-high 10 to15 minutes or until reduced by half. Pour liquid over chicken and lentils.
  7. Top with olives, lemon zest, and thyme.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Source: Better Homes & Gardens

Za’atar Seasoning

Za’atar Seasoning

  • Servings: Yields 5 Tbsp.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground* dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. sumac
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. fine Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined.
  2. Use immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

*If using traditional dried thyme (that is not ground), add in an extra 2 teaspoons dried thyme.

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Braised Sweet Potatoes with Orange and Olives (and Pork Tenderloin)

Here, we first decided on our side of Braised Sweet Potatoes with Orange and Olives before we committed to the main course of Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary, Coriander and Mustard. Nothing boring about our penchant for Mediterranean cuisines where the flavors are big and brash, heavy on citrus, spices and bold ingredients used with abandon.

The vegetarian sweet potatoes dish was in a recent copy of Milk Street magazine who noted it originally came from German food blogger Meike Peters. So the challenge was to find a main course that would stand up to the bold flavors. In Molly Stevens’ “All About Roasting” cookbook she wrote an article on basic sear-roasted pork tenderloin that lists four different flavor options.

Our first choice, orange- and thyme-rubbed, would have been a perfect “plate-mate,” however the pork had to be seasoned for 4-24 hours ahead of time, a luxury we didn’t have. So choice number two was seasoned with rosemary, mustard and coriander—a spice also in the potato recipe. This mustard-based paste turned the simple pork tenderloin into something fragrant and special with little effort.

Now about that side dish. First, cook the potatoes with a small amount of orange juice and water until tender, then stir in candied citrus zest and chopped black olives, which provide depth and pops of briny flavor. This recipe resonated not only for its bold flavors, but also for its use of a low-liquid braise, a technique that concentrates flavor. 

In Milk Street’s version, you’ll get plenty of citrus notes from the coriander and juice, and this keeps the recipe a one-pot preparation, woohoo! Then the onions are browned more for a slightly deeper flavor and cayenne pepper adds an extra bit of savoriness.

BUT, and it’s a big one, we instinctively knew that there was no way those potato chunks would be tender in 8-11 minutes. And they were not. Plan on adding another 10 minutes to this step.

TIP: Don’t use a narrow saucepan or pot for this recipe. The wider diameter of a Dutch oven allows the potatoes to be distributed in a thinner layer, which results in more even cooking.

Braised Sweet Potatoes with Orange and Olives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. orange-flesh sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ⅔ cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup black or green pitted olives, or a mixture, chopped

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high, cook the oil and coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant and sizzling, 2 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, orange juice, cayenne, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 8 to 11 minutes. (It took ours 20 minutes until tender.)
  4. Uncover and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has almost fully reduced and the potatoes are glazed, about 2 minutes.
  5. Off heat, stir in the olives. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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The inspiration comes from a recipe in “365,” a cookbook by German food blogger Meike Peters; reimagined by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a meal that is not only good for you, but is art to the eyes and music to the taste buds—plus, comes together quickly with a short list of ingredients. Here, Milk Street riffs on Laura Calder’s recipe for a simple yet elegant one-skillet, six-ingredient (not counting the salt and pepper) sautéed fish supper from “French Food at Home.”

This version yields a slightly more substantial vegetable accompaniment to serve with the fillets but is equally easy to prepare. Green beans are used, but if you prefer, use pencil-thin asparagus instead. However, Milk Street notes it serves four, and while we halved the amount of snapper for the two of us, the full amount of green beans and tomatoes was kept intact, yet we consumed all of them between the two of us. If serving a starch such as rice or potatoes, it probably won’t be much of an issue.

Red snapper is a mild, firm-textured white fish that holds up nicely to sautéing. Flounder is a good alternative, as it typically is of the same thickness as snapper. Halibut works nicely, too, but the fillets are thicker (and more expensive!) and therefore require a few more minutes in the pan. One misstep on our end was forgetting to remove the fish skin which caused the fillets to curl in the pan.

Tip: Don’t fuss with the fish once it’s in the skillet. Allowing the fillets to cook undisturbed for a few minutes gives them a chance to develop a well-browned crust. To flip each one, slide a metal spatula underneath and, as you turn it, support the fillet your free hand. Gentle handling helps prevent the flaky flesh from breaking.

Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 6-oz. skinless red snapper fillets (½ to 1 inch thick)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the beans and cook, stirring only once or twice, until spottily browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to char and burst and the beans are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter.
  2. In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the fillets skinned side up and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip each fillet, then add the butter while swirling the pan. Cook over medium-high, occasionally basting the fish with the fat, until the fillets are opaque throughout, about another 3 minutes. Using the spatula, place the fillets on top of the vegetables.
  3. Set the skillet over medium, add the vinegar and cook, stirring to combine with the fat, just until heated through, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the mixture over the fish.

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Adapted the recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Russ’ Rustic Ham & Navy Bean Soup

Super flavorful and hearty, you’ll be wanting more of this soup after just one spoonful. The key to its success is homemade ham broth, not something most home cooks have readily available, but Russ gives you step-by-step directions below. That being said, the ham broth is essential. If you don’t have any, it becomes an altogether different soup, both in taste and process.

It is a huge time commitment, so pick a day where you have a large chunk of it to work with. And if you also need to make ham stock, do that a day or two (or week) ahead of time.

Whole-grain cracker strips made a nice rustic accompaniment.

This is a good recipe to use after a large ham dinner such as at Easter, or some other family gathering or pot luck party.

Russ' Rustic Ham & Navy Bean Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried navy beans, soaked in 4 quarts of water with 3 tablespoons of salt for 8-24 hours
  • 4 thick slices bacon, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ham bone
  • 2 1/2 -3 cups ham, shredded or diced
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 8 cups ham broth (see recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pimentón dulce (smoked paprika)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Rinse beans under cool water and remove any small stones or debris. Add 4 quarts water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a large pot and stir until salt is dissolved. Add the rinsed beans and soak at least and up to 24 hours.
  2. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add the diced bacon, and cook until bacon has released its fat and is fully cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Sauté the vegetables until the onions begin to soften. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and add to the pot, then add the bay leaf, ham bone, and ham broth*. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a simmer (be careful not to boil it to avoid bursting the beans), then lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. 
  4. Once beans are tender, stir in the ham and cooked bacon and continue to simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme branches. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the pimentón and parsley.  Serve.

*Note:  If you don’t have pre-made ham stock, you can make your own easily following the instructions below. 

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Ham Stock

Ham Stock

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. smoked ham hocks or smoked pork necks or a mix, lightly rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed (no need to peel it)
  • 1 large stalk celery with leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 quarts water

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup or stock pot over medium-high.  Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot and sauté them until they are caramelized.  Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pot, and boil until the wine is reduced by half.
  2. Add the ham hocks and/or smoked pork necks and the remaining ingredients, including the water, and bring the pot to a simmer over high heat.  Immediately lower the heat to medium-low or low and continue to simmer the stock, uncovered, until it reduces by a half, skimming any foam or scum that rises to the surface (about 2–4 hours). Do not stir the stock while it simmers.
  3. Strain the stock through a colander into another large pot or container.  When the solids have cooled enough to handle, you can pick the meat off the shank and/or neck bones and reserve for the soup.  At this point, you can proceed with the Ham and Bean Soup recipe above.

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