There's a deep satisfaction had in getting multiple meals out of that lovely hunk of ham. One of the best re-uses we can think of for that ham hock, especially during these soon-to-be-quite-chilly months ahead, is a heart-warming, stomach-filling white bean and ham soup. If you have some extra ham to throw in, it will definitely turn up the taste factor. But the great thing about this soup is the incredible amount of bowl-licking flavor that is imparted by just simmering that bone. The rustic, earthy flavors shine through and make this soup a winter must-make.
WHITE BEAN & HAM SOUP
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 1/2 hours
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any
SERVES: 8 to 10
1 meaty ham bone
4 cups water & 4 bouillon cubes (or 8 cups of chicken broth)
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bunch of sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
2 cans (15 ounces each) Great Northern or Navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced ham, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
Start Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Preheat to 325 degrees F with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
Into a large dutch oven add in the olive oil, diced onion, diced celery and minced garlic. Cook on the Traeger, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the chicken broth, water, bouillon, ham bone, bay leaves, thyme, sage and Chinese 5 spice and turn the heat up to High, or 450 degrees F. Once the broth starts simmering, turn the heat back to 325 degrees F and let it simmer, with lid on the pot, for 1 hour.
Add in the carrots and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Add in 3 of the cans of drained beans and additional diced ham and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Take the soup off the Traeger and take out the ham bone and allow to cool before stripping the bone of as much meat as you can.
While the bone is cooling, take the last can of drained beans and blend it along with 1 to 2 cups of the soup broth. (Be sure to put a folded dish towel over the lid as hot things can make the lid pop off.) If you want the soup creamier, blend up more of the beans.
Take out the bay leaves, thyme sprigs and sage leaves and add in the blended beans. If you have good olive oil (California Ranch is a great domestic brand), drizzle a little over each serving. Finish with some crusty bread and you're ready to eat.