There is something quietly civilizing
about sharing a meal with other people.
The simple act of making someone something
to eat, even a bowl of soup or a loaf of bread,
has a many-layered meaning.
It suggests an act of protection and caring,
of generosity and intimacy.
It is in itself a sign of respect.
When snow is coming down in boatloads, nothing warms the body and spirit quite like a steaming bowl of homemade soup. A favorite here at the manor is ham and bean. I like to save the bone from the holiday ham (not one of those pre-cooked, spiral sliced hams; a wonderful uncooked ham roasted all Christmas morning and eaten for brunch) in the freezer until the perfect cold January day. Well, today was the perfect snowy day. My recipe varies a bit from year to year, but this one turned out to be extra delicious.
Willow's Ham and Bean Soup
1 ham bone with meat scraps
2 cups dry navy beans
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bouquet garni (I used fresh sage)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp white pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place all the above ingredients in a Dutch oven, (I used Little Red) fill with water, cover and bake in 325 degree oven for at least 3 hours, or until beans are tender. Discard bouquet garni, remove bone, pull off any attached meat, dice and return to pot. Serve with warm cornbread. Wear woolly socks.
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup oil
Mix gently until just moistened. Turn into a greased 8 x 8 or 9 inch round pan. Bake 375 for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.
Click HERE for my other soup recipes.