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Ham and Vegetable Soup
4 pounds meaty ham bone
4 cups onion, large dice
4 cups celery, large dice
4 cups carrot, large dice
4 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
2 bay leaves
2 ½ quarts water
4 whole pepper corns
Ham stock from above, about 1½ – 2 quarts
1 quart vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 ½ cups leeks, white only, cleaned of sand and diced
1 cup celery, small dice, about two large stalks
2½ cups carrots, one inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dry thyme
3 bay leaves
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
8 ounces Parmesan cheese rinds, optional (we save them in the freezer for soups)
1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into bite sized pieces
1 head Tuscan kale, cleaned from ribs and cut up
2 cups frozen kernel corn
1 15.5-ounce can small white beans, drained and rinsed
1½ pounds leftover ham from bone diced (or purchase a deli ham steak and dice)
1 cup light cream
Start by making the stock. Add all stock ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for two hours. Strain stock and pick meat from bone. Discard the rest. This step can be done in advance and the stock frozen until needed. Cool and freeze in zip lock gallon bags.
Mix ham stock with vegetable stock and heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, but salt only if needed.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat and add bacon. Cook for 7-8 minutes until just short of crispy.
Add leeks, celery and carrots and cook for five minutes.
Add garlic and cook one minute. Coupons
Add stock, thyme, bay leaves, tomato and optional Parmesan rinds. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are just short of tender.
Add potatoes and kale and bring back to a boil then simmer until tender, about five minutes.
Add corn, beans and diced ham and simmer five minutes.
Stir in cream and remove from heat.
Pick out bay leaves and Parmesan rinds and discard. Serve immediately.