The temperature is down to the 60s and 70s suddenly. From record breaking heat to comfortably cool, it’s fall. Fall doesn’t last long here; winter moves in fast. Snow in October isn’t unusual. Up North we dig out our coats, boots and gloves and shrug. Life goes on, it just takes us longer to get dressed. We wear layers because it might be 70° during the day but it can drop to 30° as the sun goes down..
Salad as a meal suddenly seems inadequate, somehow. A steaming bowl of soup or plate of spaghetti wraps itself around you and comforts you. A side salad with the last vegetables from the garden is a nice side dish. I turn to cleaning out my motley array of frozen and fresh vegetables to make a pot of soup. Soup Season is my favorite temperature.
I had a frozen ham bone in my freezer from who knows when. . I put it into a big pot, added water and let it simmer for hours, steaming up the windows and scenting the house. Home made bone broth always tickles me. I’d buy bones to roast and turn into broth for a hobby. It’s just plain comforting. This day I wanted a hearty ham, bean and vegetables soup. I was going to aim for a new personal best in the type of vegetables used. It would be a dump soup!
My ham bone was fairly small so I added some chicken broth as well as water to the pot with the bone. I was looking for extra “layers of flavor” as they often talk about on the cooking shows. This particular time I did simply quarter an onion and roughly chop a few stalks of celery to add to the pot.
The pot of bone broth summered for 3 or 4 hours. I removed the pot from the heat and poured the broth through a sieve to remove the bone and bits. After a quick rinse of the pot I poured my broth back into the pot and returned it to the burner.
Here’s where I’d been creative. While the broth simmered I’d been busy chopping or gathering vegetables. I cut up a delicata squash into chunks with the help of my P.S. (Punisher of Squash/ hubby). It was a tough squash to peel and cut up!
I also peeled and diced a lonely sweet potato that failed to be chosen for any other meals. I always forget those tubers sitting in their far corner.
Let’s see.. potatoes! Always a good starch, we like to scrub well and leave the skins on. This time I did actually peel the potatoes before cutting them up into cubes.
Now I snicker at the Brussels sprouts. They were boxes frozen with with a butter sauce that we microwave for dinner as a side. We love them but had ignored them in the back of the freezer. They saw daylight again on their way into the soup. They’d add a little cabbage flavor. I cut them into smaller pieces.
And of course I added about 2 cups of diced ham, frozen from whenever. I’m pretty sure it was Easter but it was a rare tine I forgot to date the package. I added them toward the end to just get heated through. No need to end up with rubber cubes.
At last we added the beans! Again, I just wanted them heated through, not falling apart mushy. I kept adding cans until I was happy with the proportions of beans to vegetables. 3 cans of great northern beans and two cans of butter beans was just right.
Again I let the soup simmer, about 20 minutes more. It took awhile to return to bubbling after adding the Brussels sprouts and all of the cans of beans. I also taste tested and added garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. As an afterthought I added a glug of vinegar for an acid pop. Perfect!
The soup was so colorful and tasty with the unique blend of vegetables. Every mouthful had a different combination of flavors. Deliciousness! And the next day after the overnight period of melding flavors it was even better! I eventually froze a few individual portions for a later date. I’d made such a big pot!
Ham and Bean Dump Soup
Traditional ham and bean soup meets an unusual array of vegetables!
- Ham bone
- 3 quarts water
- 4 cups chicken broth
- carrot, quartered
- onion, quartered
- 2 stalks celery, cut up
- 1 Delicata squash; peeled, diced 1″ pieces
- 1 sweet potato; peeled, diced 1/2″ pieces
- 4-5 stalks celery; sliced
- 8 carrots; sliced
- 3 cups potatoes; scrubbed and diced with skins on
- 2 boxes brussels sprouts in butter sauce; microwaved to thaw then halved
- 3 cans Great Northern beans; drained and rinsed
- 2 cans butter beans; drained and rinsed
- 2 cups ham; diced 1/2″ pieces
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Place ham bone, carrot, onion, celery, water and chicken broth into a large pot. Bring to boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 3-4 hours.
Pour broth through a sieve into a large bowl. Rinse pot and pour broth track into pot. Return to burner and increase heat to medium high.
Add squash, sweet potato, celery, carrots and potatoes to broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 40 minutes or until carrots are almost fork tender.
Add Brussels sprouts, ham and beans. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes longer.
Taste test and add salt and pepper to taste.
Soup freezes very well in portions.