Nice and warm on a cold day, great reheated, even good cold. No need to presoak the beans. Uses that last little bit off the end of cured ham, or prosciutto, that's hard to slice. Great for slow cooking in crock pot or on wood stove. Cured ham can be substituted with Parmesan cheese rinds (real, untreated rinds from real Parmesan cheese forms), or even sausages or mincemeat, for different soups.
What you will need
about 1 liter of dried beans fir 5-6 people
a piece of cured ham, size depends on how many people - abou 50gr/person
half a medium sized onion, grossly cubed
4-5 carrots, finely sliced
celery leaves, finely chopped
a pinch of baking soda
250-300ml tomato sauce
water or broth, either vegetable or meat
vegetable oil, pref. xv olive oil, enough to cover pot bottom
optional: hot pepper(s), garlic, chive buds, capers, juniper seed, lemon juice/apple vinegar, honey
any salt derives from the cured ham(Nutritional facts 91 calories, 0.32 g fat, 19.69 g carbohydrates, 2.54 g protein, undefined mg cholesterol, 1325 mg sodium)
How to cook
For about 6 people, about a liter/quart of dried beans. Red beans/borlotti take longer to cook, black-eyed susans or any white beans cook faster. One piece (or several pieces) of cured ham, from the end or from around the bone, about 50gr per person. Rinse beans and ham. Put in water, without soaking overnight, along with a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Heat.
Cube half onion, slice carrots, chop celery leaves finely.
If you have frozen celery leaves, use the side of a wooden cutting board to beat the leaves while still in their freezing bag, but leave the end open to avoid popping the bag.
Put carrot slices, onion cubes, chopped celery and vegetable oil all in a deep pot, heat and stir fry until the onion is slightly transparent.
Add the tomato sauce. Stir. Heat to boil. Add hot water (or vegetable or meat broth, if you have it), about 3-4 times as much as the tomato sauce. Heat to boil.
Boil beans and ham in one pot, and vegetable mix separately in another pot, for about 10 minutes. Then add beans to vegetable soul mix.
Let boil for: about 1½ hours as a rolling boil, adding hot water if necessary, and stirring occasionally - OR - about 3 hours slow cooking in crock pot or on wood stove. Be sure there's enough water, at least 3 fingers or more over the level of the beans, at first.
Varying tastes can be obtained with one or more additional flavourings. For something tangier, add lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and chive buds or capers conserved in vinegar. For a more robust kick, add a couple of hot peppers and/or garlic unpeeled during the stir fry, and/or some juniper seeds and cloves after adding the bean mix to the vegetable mix. For a sweet and sour effect, add honey or molasses with some apple cider vinegar about half an hour before it's done.