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soothing soup

I helped arrange the food buffet at a dear friend’s funeral on Saturday.  On such a sad and heartbreaking day, it is so joyous to see the best in people shining through. Everyone wanted to help, be involved, and just be there for the family. One of the lovely neighbors brought a large spiral ham for the buffet. There was quite a bit of ham left, so I cut it off the bone, packaged it up for the family, and quietly snuck the ham bone into my stack of platters and chafing dishes to bring home. On Sunday I made ham bone soup that I’ve packaged up, froze, and will bring back to my friends to enjoy once all the leftovers run out… which won’t be for quite a while!

One family member is gluten-free, so I separated and packaged a special batch for her before I added the macaroni.  This recipe is a bit of a departure from the standard ham and bean soup. It’s also substantially quicker with the assistance of canned beans.

Quick Ham Bone Soup

1 ham bone with some meat still clinging to the bone
28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1  1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cups small macaroni
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place ham bone in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sweet potatoes, oregano, and celery salt and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove about half of the sweet potatoes and place them in a blender or food processor along with a couple of ladlefuls of the liquid. Puree until smooth and return to the pot.

Add black and kidney beans and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in corn and bring to a boil.  Add the macaroni, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender about 6 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and carefully remove ham bone.  Carve off any ham clinging to the bone, diced ham, and return to pot.  Discard ham bone.  Taste soup and season with freshly ground black pepper, as needed.

Serves a crowd

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