If you give a mom a chicken…

Have you read the If You Give a Mouse A Cookie series of children’s books? Each book has a pesky woodland creature that invades a child’s home and makes an increasingly ridiculous list of demands. The cookie leads to milk, and crumbs, and the next thing you know, they’re at the beach, and then back for cookies again. They’re kind of cute, and my kids love them. But they also remind me of how our weekly menu sometimes pans out. The crepe party left us with leftover chicken, which led to chicken stock and risotto, and then there was a spiral-cut half ham in the fridge that had been on sale that went perfectly with the leftover risotto (and in sandwiches with the leftover gruyere), and the next thing you know, we have ham and bean soup.

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With these rolls:

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I don’t have a great recipe for Ham and Bean Soup, and I was disappointed that The New Midwestern Table didn’t have one, either, as it seems to be quintessential midwestern fare. (Paging through it, though, I did find a recipe for homemade creme de cassis … the basis for all those French cocktails! I’ll have to try it, but I’m glad I didn’t count on it for the crepe party, as it takes about 3 months to steep. Fancy.)

So, I kind of wing it when it comes to ham and bean soup. My dad made it all the time when I was growing up, and even though I’m sure his version was better than mine ever turns out, I’m sorry to say that I probably turned my nose up at it at the time.

Things that I hated as a child that I adore now:

  • Ham and Bean Soup
  • Sitting still
  • Sleeping in a dark, quiet room
  • Sleeping, in general
  • Having my hair washed
  • Spending time with my brother
  • Pot roast
  • Baths

If only I could have appreciated these simple pleasures then!

I don’t think that my made-up jumble does my dad’s soup justice, but this is what I threw together:

1 yellow onion, chopped

(It could have been two onions, and some garlic added at the end of the sauteing process)

4 carrots, peeled and chopped in large pieces

(I would have included celery and fresh thyme if I’d had some)

olive oil

0.5 lb or so of ham, sliced or chopped

8 cups chicken stock

2 cans of white beans (I used cannellini beans), or 3 cups of cooked, dried beans

1/2 c fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Saute the onions in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil until soft, and then add carrots and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the ham, tossing together with the vegetables, and then add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the beans and parsley, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate any leftover ham and ham hock, and use them to make collards tomorrow night.

Enjoy!

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