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!

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Potato and Leek Soup

There’s something about potato soup. Any variation of potato soup. It’s comforting, warming, indulgent and oh so delicious.

When I’m in the mood for potato soup and feel little giving myself a treat (and a night away from watching caloric intake!) I usually spoil myself with a cheesy, bacon filled cream of potato soup.

But this Friday, I’ve used all the vegetables from last weekend’s farmer’s markets except for one sad, lonely leek and some brussels sprouts. I’ll be restocking at the farmer’s market over the weekend (my two favorite in San Francisco are the Saturday Fillmore & O’Farrell market and the Sunday market at Divisadero and Grove and, yes, proximity to home is a factor), so I’m going to use the rest of last week’s produce by making Potato and Leek soup as the starter for our dinner of mustard and thyme chicken thighs and garlic brussels sprouts.

The soup reheats while the mustard and thyme sauce thickens and the brussels sprouts carmelize

The soup reheats while the mustard and thyme sauce thickens and the brussels sprouts carmelize.

Continue reading “Potato and Leek Soup”