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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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