Bean soup is one of my comfort foods when it gets cold outside. I saved the ham hock from the Thanksgiving spiral sliced ham and decided to make my family’s version of the Senate Restaurant’s Bean Soup. This version makes a smaller quantity and is both thicker and creamier.
1 lb. dried Navy or Great Northern beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 ham hock, smoked is best
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoon flour
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Place onions in the pot and saute until translucent. Sprinkle in flour and 2 tablespoons butter and stir constantly for at least 5 minutes. Pour in 1 quart of water and scrap up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Toss in the beans, the ham hock, bay leaves and 4 more cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours. Skim off any fat on the surface of the soup.
Once beans are tender, remove ham hock and let cool slightly. Place 2 cups of beans in a blender and puree before pouring them back into the pot to create a thick, creamy texture. Remove meat from ham hock, discarding bone, skin, and excess fat; finely chop meat and add back to soup. Season with salt and pepper.
This is not a highly spiced soup; it is simple, filling fare. If you’re looking for additional flavor, replace some of the water with broth or even with beer. And a dash of hot sauce is good, too!