Comfort foods are often those which take us back to happy childhood moments. The story of this soup is about such a moment.
When I was a kid, my maternal grandmother would often look after me and my younger brother. She even lived with my family, for a while, so we spent a lot of time with her. I have quite a few memories of the things she would cook and bake. She could whip up some amazing creations from the simplest ingredients.
This soup is not one of them. I developed this soup recipe based on an incredibly simple soup that my grandmother would make for my brother and me, for lunch, when she would babysit us. It was as simple as it gets. She would just heat up some Campbell’s ham and bean soup, boil some small-shaped pasta, and combine the two. Somehow, this became one of our favourite lunches.
I had forgotten all about this simple soup, for years, until, one day, I had a vague memory of its flavours. I’m sure it was in autumn or winter, the time of year when I begin to crave comforting foods. While grocery shopping, I found that ham and bean soup, and tried making my own version of grandma’s soup with pasta. It brought me back to my childhood.
I wanted to make it better, though. Canned soups are not really my kind of thing, anymore. I like to make things from scratch. So, I began to make ham and bean soup with pasta my own way. I used two kinds of beans, ham or bacon, and macaroni. I wanted to thicken the soup, to make it feel heartier. I tried mashing some of the beans, which worked brilliantly. I thought the soup would certainly benefit from adding the classic combination of onion, celery, and carrot, a roux of butter and flour, as well as some chicken stock, and, a little seasoning, of course. After making the soup a number of times, I got the balance just right. It has become a favourite. Every autumn and winter, I make this soup for my family.
This hearty soup is sure to warm you up and satisfy your comfort food cravings. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Ham and Bean Soup with Pasta
This hearty soup is sure to warm you up and satisfy your comfort food cravings.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 heaping Tbsp white flour
- 2 cans borlotti and/ or cannellini beans; mash or puree ½ (or whole) of one can of beans, drain and rinse the rest under cold water in a colander (I like to use a potato ricer to mash them)
- 200g/ 7 oz. diced or shredded ham (or bacon)
- 250g/ 9 oz. of macaroni or small shell pasta (or other small shape pasta)
- ½ large brown onion, finely diced (or one small brown onion)
- 4-5 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
- 6 cups chicken stock/ broth (boiling hot)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Oregano and parsley, to taste
A handful of baby spinach, torn
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add onions, carrot, and celery to skillet (also add bacon now, if using that instead of ham). Sautee until onions are translucent. Turn off heat and set pan aside.
- Add butter to a large pot, and melt over medium-low heat. Gently add flour to butter, whisking constantly, until flour turns golden, to make a roux.
- Add garlic to roux, whisking in quickly. Stir onion mixture into pot.
- Add chicken stock, ham, and beans. Turn heat to maximum. Bring to the boil.
- Add pasta. Turn heat down to medium-high, and simmer until pasta is fork-tender (not al dente). Add baby spinach at the end of cooking, if using, to cook for about a minute, until wilted.
- Season soup, to taste, with salt, pepper, and herbs before serving.
This recipe was created by Kim Sequoia for a delicious moment.
All written content and photos are copyright Kim Sequoia 2018 for a delicious moment.