Monday, December 5, 2011

Smokey Bean Soup with Ham and Bacon

I mentioned previously that a fellow blogger unexpectedly lost her father on Thanksgiving morning.  In the blogging world you make connections with people from all over the place and develop relationships with others who have the same passion and interest as you.  I don't personally know Annie or her family, but my heart goes out to her and her family during this time of grief and struggle.

On Thanksgiving morning she suffered a tragic loss.  A loss that was sudden.  A loss that was unexpected.  She suffered one of the worst kind of losses.  She lost her father.  Her father that was only 59 years old.  A loss of anyone at any time is a tragedy, but a loss that comes so unexpectedly is the worst.  Although I don't know Annie personally, when I learned of the loss of her father I wanted to do something for her.  We don't live in the same town or state, we are actually miles and miles apart but that doesn't mean I can't do something for her to let her know I'm thinking of her.

So what does one food blogger do for another to show them they are thinking of them, praying for them and hurting for them?  They cook something for them.  Something delicious.  Something comforting.  Soup.  I don't know about you, but soup is so home-y and comforting.  It's one of those foods I turn to during those times I need to feel comfort.  There's something about a big pot of soup simmering on the stove that brings a sense of comfort and normalcy to those times that when there is nothing normal or comforting in your world.  Letting that soup simmer until it's just perfect is a type of therapy, almost.  Although cooking isn't therapy for all, there are many who find comfort not only in food but in the cooking process and just being in the kitchen. 

So, Annie, this big pot of soup is for you and your family during this time of loss and tragedy.  My heart goes out to you, your brother and your entire family.  I hurt for you and I am praying for you.  I know this isn't much in the grand sceme of things but I just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you, praying for you and I'm here for you.  I know the road of healing will be a long and rocky one, to say the least, but you have overcome so much already and I know you will get through this as well.

Smokey Bean Soup with Ham and Bacon

Ingredients:

8 Slices bacon, plus an additional slice or two for garnish if desired
1 Cup chopped onion
3 Cloves garlic, minced
8 Oz diced smoked ham (about 2 cups)
2 Red potatoes, diced into bite size pieces (about 2-21/2 cups)
2 Cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1/2 Tsp Kosher salt
1/8 Tsp black pepper
3 (14oz) Cans chicken stock
1/2-1 Tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Directions:

Slice bacon into bite size pieces and cook in a large stock pot until crisp.  Remove bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate and set aside.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings and dispose of the rest.

Place the onion and garlic in the stock pot with the bacon drippings and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the diced ham, beans, paprika, salt and pepper to the pan and stir to combine.  Add the broth and potatoes.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Allow the soup to simmer for about 15 mintues, or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Remove from heat and add the liquid smoke and bacon and stir.   

Remove 3 cups of soup and place in a large bowl and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.  (A blender may be used in place of the immersion blender.)  Add the blended soup back to the pot and stir to combine.  Add additional salt and pepper if needed.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with extra bacon, if desired.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

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