Fee SIMPLE Friday: Ham, Bean and Escarole Soup

Ham, Bean and Escarole Soup

On Fee SIMPLE Fridays you will get easy recipes.  In the legal field, Fee Simple is the absolute ownership of property to the exclusion of others.  I want you to own your kitchen every Friday with these easy-to-make recipes!

You know sometimes you just want a really good wholesome soup?  The problem with soup is it can sometimes be super labor intensive and take forever to develop flavors.  This recipe gives you that depth of flavor with really very little effort.  I cannot stress enough how much making a mis-en-place for this meal will make your life infinitely easier. I categorized this as a Fee SIMPLE Friday recipe because as long as you take the minimal time and effort to create a mis-en-place, this recipe will be easy as anything! Also, you have a lot of sitting around time while the soup cooks and for the flavor I think this is quite an easy dish.  I invited my friend Stephanie over to try it after I made it and the first thing she said was “it smells so good in here!”  The soup was a hit but I’ll give you her warning that it has a little bit of a bite (which Matt and I love) so be prepared for that!  If you want it to be less spicy, simply use less red pepper flakes.

Ham, Bean and Escarole SoupHam, Bean and Escarole Soup

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Weeknight

Fee SIMPLE Friday: Ham, Bean and Escarole Soup
 
Author:
The Elements
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ lb ham, thickly sliced and cut into cubes (I have also prepared it with deli ham and it turned out fine)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 5-6 baby leeks finely chopped (white parts only) -- or you can use a combination of baby leeks and small regular leeks as I did here
  • 2-3 green onions, finely chopped (all parts)
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 1 head escarole (remove the core and tear up the leaves after removing any brown parts)
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
Procedure
  1. Warm 2 TBSP of olive oil in a large saucepan (I used a medium stock pot and it was perfect) over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook until it gets that beautiful crispy caramelization that makes ham incredible (about 3 minutes). Then transfer the ham to a bowl or plate using a slotted spoon (and try your best not to eat it before you have to put it back in the soup--this was the hardest part for me because, hello, ham)
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and then sauté the onions (green and yellow) and the baby leeks until softened (4-5 minutes) then mix in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds - 1 min.
  3. Increase the eat back up to medium-high/high (towards the high end) and add in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the escarole and cook until wilted, while stirring (2-3 mins). Add in the beans and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 5 more minutes.
  5. Add the ham in to the soup and cook for a additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using the same slotted spoon as before (assuming the slots aren't huge), smash some of the beans into the base of the pot to thicken the soup up. Add in the parmesan cheese, stirring to incorporate. Simmer for 2 more minutes, then ladle it into bowls. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Keep some freshly grated parmesan on the table in case anyone wants to add a little extra! Serve with crusty bread.
The Verdict
This was splendid. I'll be honest, the first time I made it using the recipe in the book all I could taste was the rosemary. I'm sure I could have lowered the portion, but honestly I'd rather not have it at all and so I chose to omit it this go round. I'm very happy I did and I'm very happy with the additions to the soup (leeks, green onions). I think I will definitely be making this again!
Ham, Bean and Escarole Soup

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