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Ham and Bean Stew

You don’t have to see much more than the word ‘stew’ to know that this is comfort food, and in fact, we offer you a homey loaf to serve alongside (see link below), to supplement the soothing and nurturing possibilities of today’s post! The original stew recipe called out gammon, which is uncooked ham and not available here, but we like the way a smoky ham hock and cooked ham steak flavor this wholesome potful, so much so that we don’t feel the substitution is any sort of compromise. Serve with nothing more than Buttermilk Oat Bread or simply a crusty purchased loaf. Satisfaction — and comfort — guaranteed!

Ham and Bean Stew

1 tbs. olive oil
Smoked ham hock
1 onion, chopped
7 fl. oz. white wine or white vermouth
1 lb. ham steak, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
1 thyme sprig
2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2-4 white potatoes (depending on size), cut into bite-size pieces
14 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
14 oz. can butter beans, drained and rinsed
7 oz. frozen petite peas (about 1¼ cups)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the ham hock and let it sizzle a bit, turning a few times, so that you have some brown bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. Remove from the pan.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Return the hock to the pan and pour over the wine or vermouth, and let sizzle for a minute or so, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits.

Add the ham steak pieces, thyme, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beans. Pour over 1¾ cups water, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the peas and cook just to heat through, another 5 minutes or so. You may remove the ham hock at this point and pull off any meat from it that you want to add to the stew. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a good grind of black pepper and a few fresh thyme leaves, if you like. Serves 4-6.

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