As if I needed another excuse to love and celebrate autumn? I eat and love soup and stew all year round, truth be told, but I love the excuse of colder weather to put soup-making into overdrive.
White-Bean-and-Ham StewRating: 4.5 out of 5: Rustic, easy, delicious, and hearty! Just a little extra seasoning, please.THE TEST My initial thoughts? Looks deliciously rustic. I was worried there wasn’t going to be enough flavour, though: What do you mean no onions or garlic?! For a stew with so many classic fridge and pantry staples, I actually had to go out and buy almost every, single ingredient for this recipe. I was under-stocked this week! I hate that. I get some sort of smug satisfaction from knowing I already have the majority of the ingredients at home. Anyone else? In any case, I was glad for Pete’s Frootique, which had every single item I needed. (And, as usual, a little more that I didn’t really need.) Three cheers for one-stop-shopping on an otherwise busy night!
Gathering up all the items and getting ready to prep them, I was awestruck by how beautiful everything was. Such simple root vegetables, leeks, and greens, but so vibrant and lovely. I had a nice mental picture of bowls of this stew laid out on French tables over the centuries, with a big mug of red wine to wash it down. So practical, but so filling and warming. With the grim, grey, and wet day outside, and because I feeling a little under the weather, I knew this stew was going to be the perfect cure.
|Pretty, right? I was slightly enamoured!|
Time consuming, sure, but quite possibly the easiest stew I’ve ever made. It went something like this: Plunk meat, water, beans in a pot. Wait. Chop vegetables. Wait. Plunk them in, too. Add salt. Wait. Take meat out. Put meat back in. Add pepper. Wait.
The stew was then ready to pop briefly under the broiler with a piece of bread and some cheese grated over the top.
In spite of the fact that I had to buy 95% of the ingredients, I paid surprisingly little. While I knew what ham hocks were, I had never actually cooked with them, so I wasn’t sure what to expect price-wise. The recipe called for 4 meaty, smoked ham hocks, weighing in at about 3.5 pounds total. Pete’s had one, giant ham hock that weighed in at 3.2 pounds by itself, so I snagged it. It was less than $4.00!
|A smoked ham hock, in case you were wondering!|
I would absolutely make this stew again. It makes 8 portions, and with how easy it is to pull together, it would be great for crowds, especially throughout the fall and winter seasons.
Jacques Pépin’s recipe for White-Bean-and-Ham Stew from Food&Wine Magazine.
NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with us and join in on the fun, we’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking.