Recreating Green Bean, Ham and Potato Soup

When I was in grad school at the University of Dayton, I was a part time bartender at a great Irish pub in Dayton’s Oregon District (fun historic neighborhood if you’re ever in Dayton). The pub, the Dublin Pub, has a lot of claims to fame, but a personal favorite of mine was the green bean, ham and potato soup.

After college I left my bartending days behind, but often returned to the Dub Pub for the soup I loved (and a Tullamore Dew or two…three?). So, you can imagine my disappointment when I arrived one day to hear the soup had been taken off the menu! It’s been six or seven years since then, but I still think about how good it was – simple, hearty and delicious. So, I decided to try my hand at recreating it!

I found fresh green beans and a few potatoes at the farmer’s market yesterday, which sparked a memory of that soup. Add in a couple smoked ham shanks from my favorite Lower Pacific Heights grocery store, Mollie Stone’s (if you’re near one, they have great customer service and an amazing selection of fresh and prepared foods) and some herbs I already had on hand, and my recipe resurrection is on!

I dropped the ham shanks (a little over 2 lbs total) into a crock pot, covered them with water, added salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and tied together two bay leaves with five thyme sprigs. Three whole cloves of garlic were added to the mix, I turned the crock pot on high and walked away.

Ham shanks with a faux bouquet garni

Ham shanks with a faux bouquet garni

About four hours later, I turned the crock pot down to low and vented the lid. Tasting the broth at this point, I decided it was a little flavorless, so I added a vegetable bouillon cube (this would turn out to be a mistake). The meat is separating from the bones, but not quite as easily I’d like…but it’s on it’s way, so, hurray!

Another hour passes, and it’s time to remove the meat from the broth (it’s falling off the bones by now). I let the meat and broth cool separately while I start the rest of the soup.

The snipped green beans and chopped potatoes go into the pot with more black pepper. I used about 4 baking potatoes and 1 lb of green beans, but you can adjust however you like it.

Green beans and potatoes ready to go!

Green beans and potatoes ready to go!

Once the broth cooled, I skimmed off the fat, and added the broth and about 2 tsps each of onion powder and garlic powder to the pot, turning the heat to high to bring it to a boil.

I began to shred the ham, removing the bones, fat and skin. The broth was boiling by the time I was done, so I added the ham, turned it down to a simmer, and let it do its magic for the next 45 minutes.

Ready to add the final ingredient to the pot!

Ready to add the final ingredient to the pot!

Add a beer battered bread (Which came from a box. Add a bottle of beer, stir and stick it in the oven…it was delicious and offered very little chance to screw up the baking!) on the side, and voila! Recreated Green Bean, Ham and Potato soup.

Green Bean, Ham and Potato Soup - Recreated

Recreated Green Bean, Ham and Potato Soup (with beer bread and roasted red pepper tapenade).

The finished product was a very respectable attempt at the original recipe. The flavors were right on – the only thing I’d change would be the addition of the vegetable bouillon cube – it made it too salty. At the end, the ham would’ve been enough to flavor the dish, but impatience got the best of me (it happens). I ate it as it was last night, but added a little extra water to the leftovers to even it out.

As is usually the case with soup, I bet tomorrow it’ll taste even better! Green bean, ham and potato soup for breakfast, anyone??

Who doesn't think soup is an appropriate breakfast?

Who doesn’t think soup is an appropriate breakfast?

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