The weather has slowly been changing, getting colder and colder everyday. Since the time change I have lost all sense of when I am suposed to sleep. I get sleepy at 8 and get up at 5:30. My internal clock has really gotten way off. It gets darker out and my body says it's time for two things...one...naps....two...lots of comfort foods. So I heeded the call of comfort foods and brought out a yearly fall favorite. When I went to culinary school, we were required to take a stocks and sauces class. This class had two purposes. The first was to teach you how to make basic stocks. The second purpose was knife cutting skills. Everything has a name and everything has a measurement. All this was lost on me after I became a personal chef. None of my clients care about some fancy French name for something that is 1/4"X1/4"X1/4". This recipe came from my Stocks and Sauces class in a printed handout of misc. recipes. I would give credit to the author but I have no idea who it is.
This is called Michigan Bean Soup. Here is the recipe and some pictures that I took along the way. It's a great recipe but I do have some comments about what to change up a bit. First I always double the recipe. In order for me to follow the directions I use my food scale. The measurements are in ounces so the scales comes in handy. In the picture above there is the doubled weight of onions, celery and green bell peppers. I did weight the Navy Beans and then soaked them in cold water all day on the kitchen counter. The recipe calls for Ham Hocks and luckily my local grocery store had them. If you can't find them then use a smoked turkey wing, maybe two. There is less fat on the turkey wing and the meat is easier to pick off the bones than all the fat from the ham hocks. We have even used a pork bone from a pork roast that I had frozen. There wasn't a lot of meat but the flavor was good anyway. This is a very hearty and filling soup. We had it with some Sun Dried Tomato bread from the grocery store. It doesn't take much to fill you up. Good hearty food on a cold winter day.
Michigan Bean Soup
Yield: 8 servings (very small about a scant one cup per)
4 oz. dry beans (Navy)
1 each ham hock
2 quarts water or stock (I have used both and really can't tell much difference in the taste because there are so many flavors)
2 oz. onion, finely chopped
2 oz. celery, finely chopped
2 oz. green peppers, finely chopped
2 oz. tomatoes, canned, chopped (buy the pre chopped canned tomatoes-saves time)
1 oz. parsley, chopped
salt and white pepper to taste
2 oz. butter
2 oz. flour
1. Clean and wash beans. Boil in 2 quarts of water or stock. Add ham hock.
2. Cook until beans are tender. Saute all vegetables in butter, dust with flour and cook few minutes. Add to soup and simmer for additional 10 minutes.
3. Before serving, remove ham hocks, dice meat, and return to soup.
Note: Taste soup before seasonings because ham hocks are salty
If ham hocks are too salty for you or you don't need the extra fat use smoked turkey wings.
I soaked the beans for about 6 hours in a bowl on the kitchen counter in cold water before cooking them; overnight is better for less cooking time.