If you ask most cooks what they do with their left-over ham bones, they’ll answer, ‘make a pea soup‘. Ralph and I love pea soup, but our kids did not. It was a texture thing. The thick, lumpy consistency – I like chunks of vegetables in my pea soup – caused their gag reflex to go into overdrive. Today’s recipe is my compromise. I switched out dried peas used in the classic version with a mild tasting cannellini bean indigenous to Tuscany. Rather than allowing the beans to cook until they disintegrate, I add them just before the soup is finished cooking. The bean’s integrity remains intact completely eliminating my daughters’ charming gag fest. I borrowed the minestrone combination of beans and pasta, but used the ancient wheat grain, farro for the pasta piece. Farro’s chewy texture offeres a gorgeous contrast to the creaminess of cannellini beans. Some simple vegetables and summer savoury round out the soup creating a hearty, flavourful, chunky way to use up your Easter ham bone.
TUSCAN BEAN SOUP WITH FARRO AND HAM
- 1 meaty smoked ham bone
- 10 cups water
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons dried summer savoury
- 1- 19 ounce can white kidney bean called cannellini beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
- 1 cup farro
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the measured water and ham bone in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
- Add the chopped vegetables, salt, pepper and summer savoury, stir to combine (leave the bone), and return to a boil, skimming the surface with a spoon as necessary to remove any scum.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are fork tender.
- Meanwhile prepare farro according to manufacturer’s directions.
- When the vegetables are ‘al dente’, add the cooked farro and drained beans.
- Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
THE LOVE: Be sure to use a meaty ham bone so that you have lots of ham meat in your soup.
Thanks for reading.