A ham and bean dish too hearty to be called a soup that can be served as a main entree.
by Steffany Hedenkamp
|20 ozs.||Sixteen Bean Soup Mix|
|1||Ham Bone, if available|
|3 whole||Bay Leaves|
|2 Tbsps.||Ham Base|
|2 tsps.||Rosemary, dried|
|2 tsps.||Thyme, dried|
|1 tsp.||White Pepper, ground|
|1 lb.||Ham Steak, or 2 lbs. if Ham Bone unavailable or meatless|
|1 lb.||Smoked Sausage|
If the Sixteen Bean Soup Mix included a flavor packet discard it. Soak the beans overnight covered in at least 2 inches of water in a 6 quart pot or dutch oven for which you have a lid.
Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Put 7&1/2 cups of cold water into the pot you soaked the beans in and bring to a boil. If a Ham Bone is available, clean most of the meat and fat from it, saving the meat, and place the cleaned ham bone in the water. Add the rinsed and drained beans to the water. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover with the lid, slightly tilted as little as possible to just avoid a tight seal.
After an hour of simmering, if a ham bone is used and it wasn't completely covered by the water, turn the ham bone so the uncovered portion becomes covered by water. Replace the lid as before. Meanwhile, before the second hour has elapsed, measure out the whole Bay Leaves, the Ham Base, Rosemary, Thyme, and White Pepper.
After the second hour of simmering, remove and discard the ham bone if it was used. Remove 1/2 cup of liquid from the pot into a 1 cup or larger jar or container for which you have a tight fitting lid and set aside to cool. Add the bay leaves, ham base and spices. Stir and replace the lid as before. Meanwhile, prepare the following ingredients. Pull apart by hand into bite size pieces the Ham Steak and any ham meat from the ham bone, if used, and set aside. Slice the Smoked Sausage into 1/4 inch slices and set aside. Chop the Onion, slice the Celery, peel the Garlic cloves and set all aside.
After the next 30 minutes of simmering, Add the chopped onion and sliced celery to the pot. Using a garlic press, press the garlic cloves into the pot. Stir in the ham and smoked sausage pieces. Increase the heat to medium and return to a boil without the lid, stirring occasionally. While stirring, when you spot the bay leaves, remove and discard them.
Meanwhile, melt the Butter. When the stew has returned to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Stir the Flour into the melted butter, stir the butter/flour mixture into the 1/2 cup of cooled reserved liquid, cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend well. While stirring the boiling Stew, slowly pour the butter/flour/liquid mixture into the Stew. Continue to stir and boil at low heat for two minutes, reduce the heat to simmer, cover tightly, not tilted as before.
Simmer covered for about 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, allow to cool to your desired serving temperature and serve.
Bret and Steffany Hedenkamp are friends of Gary Banta in Kansas City. They were kind enough to invite me to their annual Bonfire, held over Halloween weekend in 2004. Steffany's Stew was so good that though this was my first time meeting her, I hounded her for the recipe. All I changed was the addition of the ham bone, smoked sausage, butter and flour and I omitted the salt since the ham base seems to make it unnecessary.
I love this in the colder weather and since I usually get a spiral sliced ham during the holidays, I use the left over bone for this Stew. The unsliced meat that remains on the bone seems to yield about a pound, so I only need to buy a one pound ham steak. But if I don't have a ham bone, I buy a single two pound thick ham steak (rather than 2 one pound thin ham steaks; why? it's a size-queen thing).
You usually will find ham base on the soup isle in your grocery store near the bouillon. Of course you can experiment with the amount of it and the spices you use, but I found that any more than 2 tablespoons of the ham base makes it too salty. The quantities above are what I liked after experimenting. I use 2 bay leaves if fresh, 3 if dried. I haven't tried fresh rosemary or thyme yet.
My bag of sixteen beans was 20 ozs., but I think Steffany's might have been 16 ozs. Whichever, use 1&1/2 cups of water for each 4 ozs. of dried beans.
Source: Steffany Hedenkamp, friend of Gary Banta
Yield: 1 gallon
Nutrition Facts per Serving:
19g Fat (40.4% calories from fat)
18g Dietary Fiber
Exchanges per Serving:
2 Lean Meat
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