WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH HAM AND ROSEMARY
Makes about 8 servings
2 cups dry white beans (soaked 8 hours or overnight, then drained)
2 quarts chicken stock (or 2 quarts water with 2 T chicken stock base.
1 tsp. dried thyme
1-2 cups finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped ham
1 envelope Goya brand ham flavor base (optional)
About 2 additional cups water
1-2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary (or less if you're not that crazy about the flavor of rosemary. You could use dried rosemary if you grind it.)
2-3 T finely chopped fresh parsley (or use 1 T dried parsley)
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Soak beans 8 hours or longer in cold water, drain and rinse well. Put beans, 2 quarts of stock or water/chicken base, and thyme in large soup kettle. Simmer 30 minutes.
While soup simmers, chop veggies and ham so that pieces are about 1/4 inch square. (If you're using ham with a rind, cut it off and add to the simmering soup.) Add celery, carrot, onion, and ham to soup pot and simmer 30 minutes more.
Taste soup for seasoning. Add up to 2 cups more water, ham bouillon if needed, rosemary and parsley to soup pot. Simmer one hour on very low heat or until beans are nicely softened and soup is flavorful. (If you're using old beans from the pantry the cooking time will be longer, and you may need to add more water more than once.)
When the beans are softened, remove ham rind (if using), season soup to taste with fresh ground black pepper and serve hot. This freezes well, so you may want to make a double batch and put some into individual containers to take to work for lunch.
South Beach Suggestions:
This soup would be a great choice for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. If you want to make it for phase one, leave out the carrots and remember that dried beans should be eaten in small amounts for phase one (recommended serving size is 1/3 to 1/2 cup, so have a small bowl of soup with a nice green salad on the side for phase one.)
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