Re-Post: Pot Roast

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I often plan my meals basted on the local weather forecast and I was so happy when I learned the high today would be 71 degrees and the low 61. I know some of you might not think that is at all cold – but this is Florida after all…I’ll take what I can get! ūüėČ Anything less than 80 degrees feels like a treat here and what better way to celebrate this cooler weather than to make something warm and comforting? I love its simplicity and all the great flavor that it creates;¬†this one is hands-down my favorite, especially when we serve it over a big pile of¬†roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Pot Roast with Vegetables ‚Äď adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) piece beef chuck¬†roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ‚Äď 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 yellow onions, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 12 – 16 ounces button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions –

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a tight cover; heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. Pour in the tomatoes and the water. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the pot roast, season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Braise for about 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.

Slice the pot roast and arrange on platter surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with the pot juices.

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Thanksgiving Day Recipe Round-Up

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Fall is my absolute favorite season because of the cooler weather, but mostly it’s because of the food! Thanksgiving dinner is hands-down the most time-consuming meal I make all year; but I love it! It’s a little depressing when I think of all the planning, shopping, prep-work, cooking, baking – not to mention the dish washing involved; and everyone is finished eating in about 20 minutes. Thankfully, there are the leftovers which can be the best part of the ordeal ūüôā I decided to round-up some of our favorites to help those of you who need inspiration and ideas.

A couple of tips for you novices out there – don’t be intimidated! ūüôā Plan at least a week in advance, especially if you plan on brining your turkey – I highly recommend it! You will never have a more moist, perfectly seasoned bird than when you’ve taken the time to brine. It’s not difficult, but you will need some extra space in your refrigerator and if you don’t have a huge, lidded container you can use heavy-duty brining bags, (I have used these). Also, invest in a digital probe thermometer, because¬†who wants to go through all that trouble only to end up with overcooked (or under-cooked) turkey? Thanks for reading!

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Breakfast

*Update* Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Bread

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Waffles

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

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Appetizer/Sides

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vanilla Almonds

Brioche and Sausage Dressing

Loaded Potato Soup

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans

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Breads

Honey Yeast Rolls

Basic Buttery Brioche

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Dinner Rolls

Parker House Rolls

Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns

Honey Cornbread Muffins

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Mains

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey

Honey Ham 

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Desserts

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie

Apple Crisp I

Apple Crisp II

Vegan Apple Crisp

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For the Leftovers

*Update* Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwiches

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Ham and Potato Soup

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Last week I complained that I never get the opportunity to make desserts like this because my husband is not a fan of pumpkin anything. My home group crew saved the day when they selflessly volunteered to eat what ever pumpkin dessert I wanted to make. With all the great recipes to choose from, I decided on one I have never eaten or made. It’s been a couple of years since my last cheesecake (also a really great Fall dessert), so I hoped that this one would be worth making. Cheesecake is one of the more time-consuming desserts to make, not to mention the overnight stay in the refrigerator; but all that waiting paid off because this was a hit with everyone who tried it. It tasted¬†better than I could have hoped! The cheesecake is so creamy and light and there was just a hint of cream cheese flavor, but the predominant flavor was pumpkin pie.¬†This is apparently the type of cheesecake that appeals to people who don’t like cheesecake or don’t like pumpkin ¬†pie. Everyone that tried it really enjoyed it and one even said it was better than Cheesecake Factory – what a great compliment ūüôā I made some minor tweaks to the recipe and combined some of My Baking Addiction’s recipe to Once Upon A Chef’s. My Baking Addiction shared a video with great tips to make the perfect cheesecake, like how to ensure that no water seeps into your cheesecake while it bakes in the water bath. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Рadapted from Once Upon A Chef with some tips from My Baking Addiction

For the Crust

  • 2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 14 graham cracker sheets)
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the Filling

  • 1 15-ounce can¬†pumpkin
  • 1-1/3 cups¬†granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon¬†ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground all-spice (*optional*)
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1 cup¬†heavy cream, cold
  • 1-1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages)¬†cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5¬†large eggs, room temperature

For Caramel Sauce¬†‚Äď adapted from¬†Kelsey‚Äôs Essentials

  • 1¬†cup sugar
  • 1/4¬†cup water
  • 3/4¬†cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2¬†tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1¬†teaspoon Fleur de Sel, or kosher salt

For the Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Wrap a 9-inch springform pan twice with aluminum foil (preferably heavy-duty). Take care to pull the foil all the way up the sides so that water cannot seep in from the water bath. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of the pan. Pulse the crackers (or crumbs), sugar and spices in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse a few times to combine. Dump the moistened crumbs into the prepared pan and, using a measuring cup or glass, press into an even layer. Bake until fragrant and set, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling

  1. Bring about 4 quarts of water to a simmer in a tea kettle (this will be used for the water bath). In a small, heavy saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, all-spice and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputter, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until thick, bronzed and shiny. Scrape the mixture into a large food processor fitted with the metal blade and process for 1 minute with the feed tube open.
  2. With the motor running, add the cold cream. Add the cream cheese (cut into chunks) and process for about 30 seconds, scraping the sides if necessary, or until smoothly incorporated. Add the eggs and process for about 5 seconds or just until incorporated (do not overmix!).
  3. Set the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the batter into the cooled crust, and then pour enough boiling water into the large roasting pan to come about halfway up side of the cake pan. Bake until the cake is just set, about 1-1/2 hours. If it jiggles, it’s not done. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set on a wire rack. Use a paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil and set on a wire rack. Continue to cool at room temperature until barely warm, about 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For Caramel Sauce –

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

Bacon Mac and Cheese

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I didn’t have to try this before I knew it would have to be good because it has three ingredients that create pure awesomeness: bacon + three cheeses + pasta = amazing!
I decided not to make this in a skillet because I don’t have one large enough, and I poured it all in my trusty 13×9 inch baking dish instead.

Verdict: Wow! This was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. Even my picky daughter ate two servings and was more than happy to eat leftovers in her lunch ūüėČ The blend of cheeses, especially the nutty Gruy√®re works so well along with the smoky and salty bacon. I made a few changes and I have added those modifications to the recipe below – nothing major though. Thanks for reading, enjoy! ūüôā

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Bacon Mac and Cheese – adapted from Kelsey’s Essentials via Cooking Channel TV

  • 1 pound dry pasta (recommended: elbow macaroni, shells, penne, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked – reserve about 3 TBSP of bacon fat (*I skipped this step*)

For the Bechamel Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups warm milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Directions –

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until nearing al dente, but not fully cooked; drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, avoid browning, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Reduce heat to low and stir the dry mustard and cayenne pepper into the bechamel sauce. Gradually add the Cheddar, Gruyere, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until all of the cheese has melted. Add an additional milk. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.

Add the cooked pasta to the bechamel and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. Pour the pasta in to a buttered 13×9 ¬†baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and reserved bacon fat. Coat the bread crumbs and chopped parsley with bacon fat and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the macaroni; and then top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with crumbled cooked bacon. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Who doesn’t look forward to this time of year? It’s one of my favorite because of all the season-specific flavors. Who eats pumpkin bread in the spring? That’s just wrong! ūüėČ If my husband loved pumpkin flavored anything, there would be far more recipes to prove my love for it – however, he loathes it…so, I know that he wouldn’t even try these. How I wish I could justify making a pumpkin cheesecake! ūüėČ Oh, well! More for me and the kids I guess.

Verdict: These muffins baked up fragrant, beautifully light, sweet and they’re spiced just right. Thanks for reading, enjoy! ūüôā

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Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins –¬† adapted from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

  • 1 ¬Ĺ cups AP flour (187 grams)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¬Ĺ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¬ľ tsp cloves
  • ¬Ĺ tsp ginger
  • ¬ľ tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¬Ĺ cup vegetable oil (*I used grapeseed*)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¬Ĺ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Oil for greasing or paper liners

Directions –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, all-spice, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, beat the pumpkin with the oil and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.

Stir dry ingredients and then chocolate chips.

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or lightly grease. Scoop in batter.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm, or cool and store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

I Can Hardly Wait!


After two years of making this huge spread for TG, I have learned (the hard way) what to do in advance to make this as stress free as possible.¬†Today I started the brine for our turkey! It’s a simple step that really makes all the difference in your finished bird. I never craved turkey until I made this recipe, but this always comes out juicy and flavorful. Every year I have made it, I have used the 10 gallon Ziploc bag, and my 12 quart stock pot to contain the beast! It’s a nerve-racking workout to place this safely and cleanly into the fridge ūüôā

Over the weekend, I prepared my brioche dough for the brioche and sausage dressing and the herb butter is sitting pretty in the freezer ( I used a stick and a half of butter instead of three). Tomorrow my plan is to bake off the brioche and roast several bulbs of garlic. Wednesday I will prepare the dressing, make the dinner rolls and take the turkey out of the brine. Thanksgiving day, I will prepare this ham in the crock pot, roast the turkey, make the roasted garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and bake off the dressing. It’s lists like this that makes me wish for two ovens! ¬†Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

Cooler weather always motivates me to make comforting meals, and what could be better than soup? This was so good and it made a huge batch – too bad we didn’t get to enjoy leftovers…the hubbs forgot to put the container in the fridge…and it stayed on the counter overnight…boo! I forgave him, of course ūüėČ There are worse things, I suppose. I once left a container of ice cream out on the counter overnight – don’t be like me! I remember the mess was thick, sticky, and a hassle to clean up! ūüėČ Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta – adapted from The Italian Dish

  • 1 cup dried cannellini or cellini beans or 1 15-ounce can of any beans you like, drained
  • 1 pound ground sausage (*I used half hot, half mild Italian sausage*)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth (*I used 6 cups homemade chicken stock*)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh if you have it
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
  • Parmigiano Reggiano rind (optional)
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions –

If using dried beans, place them in a pot, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight. Drain.

In a large pot, brown the sausage.  Remove from pot.  If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot.  Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and saute about a minute more.   Add  the tomatoes, chicken broth, Parm rind, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and pepper and the drained beans and the sausage and cover the pot. Cook for an hour over low heat, at a gentle simmer.

If using dried beans, check for doneness at this point.  (If using canned beans, add the pasta now.)  If the beans are not soft enough, cover the pot again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, add some more chicken broth.

Serve with grated cheese on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffin

I added all the brown sugar into the batter…woops! I have a bad habit of not reading through an entire recipe – don’t be like me ūüėČ ¬†I figured the extra sugar couldn’t hurt these, and I was right. I didn’t add more to the tops, but next time I will be sure to remember that “divided” step. The kids and I love these and they are really flavorful, fluffy and moist. One of the ways I safeguard against dense baked goods that require whole wheat flour, is to make the simple substitution of whole wheat pastry flour. Another easy modification is to add the buttermilk and flour in three additions to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. The resulting batter is light and fluffy and baked into 16 Fall inspired muffins. And about the temperature called for in these – I cut it back to 350 degrees on convection for 20 minutes and they came out perfectly. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins – adapted from Smitten Kitchen via King Arthur Flour

Yield: They said 12, I got 16

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 450¬įF. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400¬įF, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie

I usually crave pumpkin pie this time of year, but sadly my husband doesn’t care for pumpkin flavored anything…but, luckily he does like apple pie with crumb topping. I haven’t made apple pie in years, and I’m not sure why. Hopefully this is worth the effort and mixing of two different recipes. I wanted the deep dish directions with a crumb topping and I had to improvise the baking time and technique.
Verdict: Pretty good, but I will continue to search for the perfect pie! I think I added too much lemon zest, but this definitely needed it. All that sweet needs the balance of citrus. I also am not a fan of making pie dough, but I used this recipe and it worked out well. It was buttery and flaky and easy to make. I need to practice rolling out pie dough – it’s such a pain! I have only done it one other time, so I guess I should give myself a break. Whenever the dough becomes too warm and starts to fall apart, put it in the fridge so the butter can firm up. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie Рadapted from The Galley Gourmet 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 to 5 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 8 – 10 medium), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Topping

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine sugars, salt, zest, juice and cinnamon.  In a large dutch oven over high heat, melt the butter.  Add the apples and toss until the apple slices are coated with butter.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover tightly, and cook, stirring frequently until the apples are slightly softened, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the sugar mixture and increase the heat to high.  Cook the apples at a rapid boil, stirring frequently and gently until the juices become very thick and syrupy, about 7-10 minutes more.  Immediately spread the apples in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature.  Position a rack on the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

Meanwhile, remove one disk of pastry to a lightly floured work sheet of parchment paper.  For the bottom crust, roll out pastry to a 13-inch circle  adding flour as needed.  Transfer pastry to a baking sheet and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.  Once firm, invert 13-inch bottom pastry into a deep 9-inch pie plate; peel off parchment paper.  Ease pastry into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand and pressing into bottom edges of the pie plate with the other hand.  Allow overhang to remain in place.  Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Make crumb topping and set aside in the fridge. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, carefully take the pie out of the oven and pour on the crumb topping then bake for another 40 to 45 minutes. ¬†If the top appears to be browning too quickly the last 15 minutes, place a sheet of aluminum foil on top (do not wrap) to prevent over browning. ¬†Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely, about 3 to 4 hours. ¬†To serve pie warm, reheat at 350¬ļ F for 15 minutes. ¬†Pie can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Oh, TG leftovers, how I appreciate you! It’s so nice having leftovers that are easily turned into a whole new dish. Take the ham bone for instance – it doesn’t seem like much, but it lends rich flavor to this soup. I chopped up some leftover ham and added it to the pot towards the end of cooking right after using my stick blender to puree some of the soup. The flavor is warm and comforting and this may become a new Thanksgiving leftover tradition for my family ūüôā It’s so cheap to make too, and all I needed to buy was the navy beans because I had all the stock, veggies and herbs I needed for this. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Navy Bean and Ham Soup –

  • 1 pound navy beans, soaked for 6 to 8 hours
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • thyme, rosemary, bay leaf – tied with kitchen string
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 2-3 cups diced ham
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, ham bone, onions, and garlic with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer, about 1-1/2 hours.

Add the chopped vegetables and beans. Cook for another hour, until the vegetables are soft, the beans are completely tender, and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone. Pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones.

Turn off the heat and remove the ham bone. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the ham bone, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender or use your stick blender. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup along with the chopped ham. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.