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Culinary SOS: Ham and beans is a classic combo

By Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: I recently was in Aspen, Colo., on a trip through the Rocky Mountains. The ham and bean soup at the Creperie du Village was wonderful. Is there any way you might be able to get the recipe? -- Barry Kob, Palm Desert, Calif.

Dear Barry: Ham and beans are a classic combination, and this soup doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Great Northern beans are gently cooked with aromatic vegetables and herbs to creamy tenderness, with chopped bacon and ham folded in toward the end. Creperie du Village was happy to share its recipe for this hearty dish, which we've adapted below.

Creperie du Village's Soupe Aux Haricot Blanc

Makes a generous 4 quarts of soup, to serve 8 to 16. Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus overnight soaking for the beans. Adapted from chef Jason DeBacker, Creperie du Village, Aspen, Colo.

     1     pound dried Great Northern beans

     1     large yellow onion, finely diced

     6    ribs celery, diced

     2     tomatoes, chopped

     7     cloves garlic

     2 1/2     tablespoons herbes de Provence (sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil and tarragon)

     3    bay leaves

     1     pound bacon, chopped

     1     pound ham, diced

     Salt and pepper

PLACE the beans in a nonreactive pot with enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Soak the beans overnight.

ADD, the next day, the onion, celery, tomatoes, garlic, herbes de Provence and bay leaves to the pot with the beans and soaking liquid (add additional water as needed to keep the beans submerged).

SIMMER the soup until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding additional water, if needed, to keep the beans submerged.

RENDER the bacon in a separate pot, while the soup is cooking, until crisp. Stir in the diced ham and remove from heat.

STIR in the bacon and ham, along with the rendered bacon fat, when the beans are tender. Add additional water if desired to thin, and season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

Nutrition information: Per each of 16 servings: 281 calories, 15 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 15 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 34 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram sugar, 907 milligrams sodium.


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