Tuscan White Bean Soup with Garlic and Ham

This recipe starts out with white beans….


1 small ham, bone in
1 pound dried white navy beans
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopp or minced
2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
1 small zucchini
1 onion and, or 2 green onions
5 cups good-quality vegetable broth or 4 chicken oxo cubes ( to taste )
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tbsp fresh chopped sage and parsley, use less for dried herbs
1/4 chilli peppers
Course Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped ( cook two crispy for topping )
1/3 cup grated cheese (optional)
Croutons ( optional )

1. Soak beans in water overnight, then drain and rinse well. If desired you can use the quick cook method, or canned white beans.

2. Remove excess fat from the ham and boil in a pot for 1 hour. Meat should be falling off the bone. Let cool.

3. To the liquid from the ham, add celery, garlic, carrots and zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Dice up the ham and add to the liquid along with boullion cubes. Cook soup while adding rinsed white navy beans, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and allow to simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

4. Puree 3 cups of soup in a blender (to make the beans creamy) and pour back into the pot. This is also optional, I chose not too, but if you prefer bean soup you will like this.

5. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Top each portion with crisp bacon bits.

Cheese and croutons, if desired.

Serves 6.


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