My mom made a soup like this when I was growing up, but it’s not one of the soups I adopted. Recently I decided to revisit this green bean soup and found that it’s actually better than I remember. The broth, with a little sweet cream in it, reminds me of the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden. How much better can it get?
Here is the recipe – a combination of ideas of how my Mom would have made it and the Mennonite Treasury.
1 lb smoked ham hock
½ dried red hot pepper
10 black pepper kernels
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large onion, chopped
2 - 3 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes
6 cups chopped (frozen or fresh) green beans
1 bouillon cube (chicken or beef) if needed, for extra flavor
Cover ham bone with about 8 cups water in large pot. Tie spices into cheesecloth and add to pot. Bring to boil, take off scum, and simmer about 1 hour. Take out ham bone. Add vegetables and cook another hour. While vegetables are cooking and after ham has cooled somewhat, remove ham from bone, chop into bite size pieces and return to pot. About ½ hour before it’s done, add a handful of summer savory, tied together for easy removal. If you can’t get summer savory, use a tiny sprinkle of thyme. Add ½ cup sweet cream or sour cream, before serving. Enjoy a trip down memory lane.