Savory Bean and Ham Soup, with Spinach


Not sure what to do with that wonderful leftover holiday ham? Try this recipe. It’s been a family favorite for many years. Go easy on the salt and watch the beans very carefully so they don’t turn to mush. If you’re not sure how many guests you will be serving, or are planning leftovers, *reserve the spinach and add it to each bowl as needed. This will ensure freshness and a vibrant, colorful presentation. Enjoy!


INGREDIENTS:

2 14.5 oz. cans Great Northern beans, rinsed
1 49.5 oz. can chicken broth
3 or 4 cups diced ham (cut in 1/4″ cubes)
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery with greens, diced
4 generous handfuls Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
4 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. dry thyme, crushed in a mortar
1 tbs. dry parsley flakes
1 large dry bay leaf
3 tbs. XV olive oil
2 tbs. salted butter
2 tbs. flour
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

 

PREPARATION:

Preheat a 5-quart soup pot or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion, celery, garlic, olive oil and butter. Sauté carefully for about ten minutes until the vegetables have softened. Do not allow them to scorch. Add the flour. Stir constantly for another five minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Next, add the diced ham and dry spices. Stir and simmer partially covered over low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Add the pasta and beans and cook the pasta until just al dente, about 11-12 minutes. Shut off the heat and *add the spinach before serving.

Makes about 3 quarts
Serves 4-6

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Texas-Style BBQ Ham Sandwiches


Texas-Style Sliced BBQ Ham Sandwiches | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is a simple and economical way to use up leftover ham, whether it be a bone-in or boneless. Minimal fuss elevates this utilitarian sandwich into a very satisfying family favorite. For this recipe, be sure to sear the ham in a heavy pot over medium heat to bring out the flavor. Don’t worry — It will be super-moist and tender.  Serve on classic thick-cut white bread with cheese, red onion, slaw or sliced pickles.  It’s even great leftover and cold. Hot-damn, this is good eats!!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. thinly-sliced leftover ham, per person
1 small white onion, sliced roughly, lengthwise
1 tbs. butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce
Thick-cut sandwich bread, buttered
Sliced white American or Colby cheese
Thinly sliced red onion
Coleslaw (optional)
sliced dill pickle chips

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the ham and set aside. Using a large, heavy cast-iron pot or chicken fryer, heat the butter over medium until melted. Working in batches if needed, add the ham and spread evenly over the bottom of the cooking surface. Increase heat slightly, and brown the ham slices on both sides until there is a nice sear. Reduce heat to low and add the sliced white onion. Stir with a wooden spatula to incorporate. Heat for five minutes, then add the BBQ sauce and mix. Cover with a heavy lid and gently heat for 15-30 minutes, stirring once.

Remove from heat and serve on buttered white bread with sliced cheese, red onion or slaw, and sliced dill pickle chips.

Texas-Style Sliced BBQ Ham Sandwiches | Culinary Compost Recipes

Spinach, Ham and Egg Scramble


Ham, Cheese and Egg Scramble

Credit goes to my wife, who whipped up a variation of this recipe about a month ago; it’s been a family favorite ever since. Get everything cut and prepped so you are ready to go. The cooking time is less than five minutes. Make sure your skillet isn’t too hot, or the eggs will scorch. Add the spinach and cilantro last so it doesn’t wilt.

I love the color and texture — and the slight saltiness from the Feta cheese. Perfect for a cold winter morning. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

2 tbs. salted butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 scallion, with greens, finely sliced
2 tbs. red onion, minced
1/2 cup shaved ham, diced (optional: or use 5 slices Italian Genoa salami, diced)
1/4 cup diced sweet red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped baby spinach
1/4 cup washed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 tbs. crumbled Feta cheese
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat a 10″ well seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Prepare the scallion, red onion, red bell pepper and set aside in a bowl. Prepare the ham or salami and set aside with the Cheddar cheese in a separate bowl. Prepare the spinach, cilantro and Feta cheese, and set aside in a third bowl.  Beat three eggs in a small mixing bowl, seasoned with salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Go easy on the salt – the ham/salami and cheese are loaded with it.

Working in stages, add the butter to the skillet and swirl to coat. Quickly add the beaten eggs. Add the red onion, red pepper and scallion. Fold quickly with a plastic spatula. Add the ham or salami and Cheddar cheese. Continue to fold. When the cheese has melted, add the spinach, cilantro and Feta cheese. Fold until just incorporated. Shut off the heat and serve immediately.

Serves 1-2

Mike’s Borracho Beans


The Spanish word borracho literally means drunken. This is a recipe based on a signature dish served at Joe’s Texas BBQ in Green Bay Wisconsin. At Joe’s, they use their home-prepared smoked sausage and a small amount of burnt-ends, which I don’t have access to. I improvised and used chorizo and a ham shank on bone, using the water it simmers in as a savory reduction broth. Negra Modelo beer is also added. This is a really great recipe but you have to allow enough time for it to cook – it cannot be rushed or the results will be for naught.

Go easy on the salt!  The ham and chorizo are loaded with it.  Enjoy-

Ingredients:

1 ham shank on bone
Cold water
2 links spicy chorizo sausage
3 cups dry pinto beans
1 14.5 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup strong black coffee
1 12 oz. bottle Negra Modelo beer
32 oz. beef stock
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled, and minced
1 flame-peeled poblano pepper, diced
1 tbs. ground chipotle, to taste
1 tbs. ground cumin, toasted from seed
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1/2 tbs. ground ancho chili powder
2 dry bay leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves – washed and stemmed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs. rendered bacon fat
Dash of fresh-squeezed lime juice

Preparation:

Wash the dry pinto beans in a colander and cover in cold water overnight.
When ready, heat the smoked pork ham shank in a 5-qt cast-iron dutch oven, partially covered,  with enough water to just cover the shank. Simmer on medium-low for about 2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone.
Rotate occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Remove from heat and place aside in a dish to cool. SAVE  the water the ham shank was simmered in.
De-bone the shank and trim meat of all fat – cutting into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bone,  and place the meat back into the pot with the reserved water. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the can of whole peeled tomatoes and crush with a potato masher. Add the coffee and beer. Rinse the beans and add to the pot.

In a separate heavy pan, sautee the onion and garlic on medium-low heat in 2 tbs. rendered bacon fat until translucent – about 15 minutes. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Add to the pot with the dry spices and bay leaves.

Brown the chorizo sausage in a separate pan – cut into 1/2″ chunks and add to the pot.
Using a propane torch or a burner, blacken the poblano – peel and dice. Add to the pot.

Add the beef stock and simmer uncovered on low for about 4 hours, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir before serving.

NOTE: The consistency is not supposed to resemble baked beans. There should be a nice, rich broth. Add more beef stock or a bit of water if it becomes too thick.

Serves 6-8
Makes about 4 quarts

Simmered Ham Shank Boned and Cubed Ham Shank Chorizo Sausage Mike's Borracho Beans

Spicy Bean and Ham Soup


This is a wonderful recipe from my friend Ann.  Serve on a cold day with some home-baked bread and butter, and a nice tossed side salad.

Ingredients:

1 ham shank with bone, smoked, and cut by butcher on a bone saw into four equal pieces (I use Clem Becker brand)
2 quarts water (8 cups)
2 cups assorted dry soup beans
2 large 28 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
1 huge spanish onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, roasted and minced*
Juice of one fresh lemon
1 tbs. pure chimayo chili powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbs. dried mexican oregano
2 ribs celery, diced
2 potatoes with skins on, scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
3 carrots, skinned and chopped
1 green bell pepper, fine chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder or dash tabasco sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with chopped scallion.

Preparation:

Wash beans, cover with cold water and soak overnight with two tbs. salt. The next day, rinse the ham shank quarters under cold water and add to a heavy 6-quart stock pot with 2 quarts fresh water. Cover, heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for three hours. Pull bones from meat and discard. Place meat on cutting board, trim excess fat, shred into smaller chunks with two forks and add back to pot. Bring back to slow simmer, uncovered, and add the tomatoes, garlic, onion, celery, lemon juice, spices and chili powder.

Drain the beans and add to the stock pot during the third hour; they should be simmered for no more than two hours or they will be overcooked. (They may be done in under 1.5 hours.)

Simmer one additional hour. You may need to add a bit more water to compensate for evaporation. Skim fat off top of pot and discard. During this time, add the remainder of ingredients, noting to add the potatoes and carrots after 1/2 hour, and the bell pepper and peas during the last ten minutes.

Use the cayenne powder to control the heat, and the chili powder as a flavor base. The smoked ham is quite salty, so taste often before you add more salt. At the most, I add one teaspoon, but everyone is different.

*To roast garlic cloves, place cloves with husks in a heavy-bottom skillet and heat to medium, turning often. The husks will blacken slightly and give off a wonderful aroma. Remove from heat, let cool on cutting board. Trim the hard tip off of each garlic clove and the garlic will pop right out when squeezed. Smash the garlic with the side of a butcher knife, mince and you’re all set.

Beans can be bought in pre-mixed packages containing navy, baby limas, black, split peas, lentils, great northern, garbanzo, anasazi, kidney and pinto. These are available in many supermarkets so you don’t have to mix them yourself.

This dish is wonderful left over and freezes well.
Serves 8 comfortably.