Best Meal for a Rainy Day: Green Beans, Ham and Potato Soup
There’s nothing like staying home on a rainy day. You can curl up on the sofa and watch Netflix all day long. Of course sometimes you can’t avoid going outside on a nasty day. When it’s a cold and rainy, by the time you get home you only want to put your feet up and enjoy a hot meal. In both of these scenarios, the best meal for a rainy day is one you can put together pretty quickly for not much money: Green beans, ham and potato soup.
There are a number of ways you can make a good green bean soup. If you are going to be gone all day, it’s easy to pop this in the crock pot and let it stew all day long. If you’d rather put the meal together on the fly, then you can create a delicious green bean and ham stew on your cooktop stove. This recipe is based on the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The most important ingredients are farm fresh green beans and flavorful ham hocks.
What You Need
1 ham hock
6 average-size potatoes
2 cups string beans
10+ cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Start by putting one ham hock in a stockpot. You can add more if you want to increase the pork in the recipe. I favor organic ham hocks, but you can just as easily obtain prepared ham hock from your local grocer and it will still taste flavorful.
2. Add about 10 cups of water to the stockpot, fully covering the hock. If you do opt for more ham, then add more water. Cook on medium to medium-low heat for two hours. If you want a slower version, then set your stovetop to low and cook all day. When the water begins to evaporate and the hock starts to fall apart, add a little more water. The goal is to end up with enough broth for at least four people to have a full serving.
3. When the broth is done and the ham hock is falling apart, either strain the broth or remove the hock. Once cools a bit, remove the meat from the hock and add it back into the soup.
4. Wash and clean (peel if you so desire) the potatoes. You can use standard Idaho potatoes, but I also think fingerling potatoes make for delicious soup. Fingerling potatoes or small red potatoes also save you on prep time, since there is no need to cube them. Place the potatoes into the broth, which should still be simmering.
5. Add the string beans. If you can’t find or don’t want to use fresh string beans, two 14 ounce cans of green beans. Be sure to drain the can first so you don’t add extra fluids.
6. Cook until the potatoes are done, and serve.
The soup goes great with crusty bread, buttered bread or biscuits. Salt and pepper to taste. You can experiment with adding other ingredients you have on hand. My favorite addition is a can of corn. Some people substitute celery salt for salt, giving it a slightly stronger flavor. Some people also include an onion for taste.
Slow it Down: If you prefer to make this in the crockpot, simply use the same ingredients into the crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Speed it Up: If you want to whip this together faster, used canned green beans and simmer the ingredients for about 35 minutes.