Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Football Soup Season – Ham & Beans

Football season in my house means cheering on the UNI Panthers and preparing away game soup. Away game soup is a meal for our neighbors after they travel back from an away game. You know how it is the day after a trip - no food in the fridge and too tired to make something for dinner. And soup is perfect football food, especially as the weather is turning colder and fans are also turning colder as they cheer on their teams. That is where the away game football soup tradition started, and I’m already looking forward to trying new recipes!

This year kicked off with a white bean and ham soup, complete with veggies and a nice thick broth. To top it off, it is a great Crockpot recipe too. This recipe is one that can be prepared ahead of time, turn over the cooking to the Crockpots later the next day.

Start by rinsing and soaking one pound of navy beans overnight. Leave plenty of space and water for the beans to grow.

I start by soaking the beans and then use the opportunity to prepare the other vegetables before mixing them all together. 

Earlier in the weekend, I had a chance to dig out fresh potatoes and onions from the garden, like finding buried treasure! Of course, all the mud needed to be removed, but once done – they really are quiet beautiful. You can't judge a potato (or an onion) at first glance.  Just like people.  You really may just see the environment they are growing in.

A good potato brush and tepid running water removed the mud and left a bowl of beautifully cleaned up little potatoes.

Setting aside the potatoes to be added later to the Crockpot, they reminded me of a trip to the Byward Market in Ottawa.  The vegetables there were arranged with great pride, each so beautifully shined and cleaned that I would have felt comfortable taste testing the fresh foods throughout the market.

Pull out a cutting board and a sharp knife to prepare all the vegetables. I added mine directly to the pot of the Crockpot and mixed after all of the vegetables were added.

During cooking times, my helper was quite happy to keep an eye on me from the comfort of her pillow. With a view into the kitchen, as long as I remain within eye range, she is content to watch and relax. A break is in order to go pet that fuzzy face!

Break is over...  Peel and chop five large carrots, pausing to enjoy the wonderful smells and beautiful color. Then, add them to the Crockpot.

Quartering potatoes and onions, add them as well. Wash the kale thoroughly and remove the leaves from the stem.  I crushed them just a little with my hands to help them soak in all the good flavor and share its own savory taste.

1 lb. white navy beans
5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
5 potatoes, quartered 
3 onions, quartered 
1 cup kale
1 precooked ham
water and broth 
rosemary and bay leaf

Rinse the beans thoroughly. Soak them in water and set them aside. Quarter onions, potatoes, and chop carrots. Add them to the crockpot or soup pot. Remove the kale leaves from its stem and lightly crush with your hands. Add it to the soup pot. Pour the beans and water into the mix and then place the ham in the pot as well, pouring in broth as needed to finish covering all of the ingredients.  Finish this off with one bay leaf and a sprinkle of rosemary. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the ham is completely heated.