This recipe is great for that leftover chunk of ham you are tired of picking at. Boiling the broth for hours makes the meat fall apart.
1 good size chunk 3-4 pounds of baked ham (it’s okay to use leftover glazed ham from a dinner. The sweet glaze flavor just helps develop the broth)
2 unpeeled potatoes cut into cubes (I used a baked one from Easter dinner and then added a raw one. The baked one falls apart and adds a starchiness to the broth that helps thicken it. The raw one cooks in the broth and is perfect alongside the beans and ham.)
8 Cups broth and water (I had 3 cups chicken broth leftover from another recipe so I used that and used water to make up the difference.) – obviously, if you have ham broth or beef broth, that would work too. Or all water would work too. You just have to add bullion or tons of herbs. Taste and adjust as you go.
2 cans white beans drained and rinsed. I used Cannellini and navy beans. You could also use dry beans and follow the directions to cook them. (Any beans would work. Well, not baked beans. That would be weird.)
You can add a carrot and a celery stalk diced, too. I forgot both.
one hard boiled egg diced
flour, salt, water for rivels
thyme, salt, pepper, ground mustard powder, rosemary, bay leaves, garlic powder, parsley, white wine, sherry vinegar, etc. whatever herbs and spices you like. Again, sprinkle, stir, taste, repeat.
Throw the broth/water, beans, and ham into a pot. Turn it on low and put a lid on it. Cut up the potatoes, carrots and celery (if desired) and add next. Add herbs and spices and a little salt. (if you are using dried beans, and not canned beans, you should put about a teaspoon of salt in now.) Cook for about an hour on low. Stirring every once in awhile to keep it from sticking. Potatoes and beans are very starchy and will stick… Go take a nap and let it simmer for another hour or so. I usually cook my ham and bean soup for about 3 hours on low. Then at the end bring to a boil and add the rivels.
REMOVE BAY LEAVES if you used them at this point.
Pull the ham out by tongs and place in a big bowl so you can pick through it. Using two forks pull the ham apart from all the icky parts and put the ham back in the pot. Throw the rest out for a neighborhood animal to eat.
Now, if you want the soup thicker, you can use an immersion blender to break up some of the beans and potatoes. It will thicken the soup naturally. Or, you can take a scoop of beans out and place on a plate and smash the crap out of them with a fork and put them back in the soup. Either way.
Bring the soup to a boil.
Meanwhile put about 1/2 Cup of flour into a bowl, an 1/8 tsp of salt, and about a 1/4 cup of water and mix with a fork. It should be thick and sticky. If it’s too runny, add more flour. Too thick add more water. Using clean fingers or a fork grab little blobs of the flour mixture and carefully drop into the boiling broth. Don’t worry about having consistent sizes. I had one that was about 3 inches long tonight in my soup and another one that looked like a little bird with a beak and a wing. Rivels are fun.
Now add the chopped hard boiled egg. Stir for awhile. Cook maybe 3-4 minutes at a steady boil. This cooks the flour in the rivels and breaks up the egg so the yolk is sprinkled throughout the soup.
Serve warm with crackers.