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Author Notes: It's fall and that means warm, comforting foods like soups and stews. It is a basic southern recipe but with a little Italian twist. I glaze my ham with a balsamic reduction and it complements the ham and beans very nicely. If you don't have access to an unccooked country ham, you can use this glaze on a prebaked ham and it will sweeten the ham nicely. I always serve a corn bread to crumble in and alongside the soup. Now in the south, there is a very wise adage that says "Your tea should be sweet, your cornbread should NOT" ...Since i usually like to serve this on a Sunday afternnon, I have to start the ham and stock the night before. You would think that I would soak my beans then...but no, never remember to soak the beans,,,they are there in my cupboard next to the cans of beans which i always end up using... —lorigoldsby
Country ham with balsamic glaze and bean soup
- 1 spiral sliced country ham
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon each of ground clove, allspice and mace
- 2--48 ounces jars of Northern beans
- 3 carrots, scrubbed
- 2 inner celery stalks with leaves
- 2-4 fresh bay leaves
- 5-6 whole peppercorns
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4-6 sprigs of thyme
- Simmer brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and spices in a small saucepan until reduced by half. It should be a nice syrupy consistancy. If you are using a pre-cooked ham, layer pan with foil, "fluff" out the ham a 1/16"inch and pour glaze on top/bottom of ham. Bake at 250-for 35-45 minutes.
- Remove ham from bone. Use bone to make a ham stock. Add vegetables, cover with water and simmer 2-4 hours. Add onion in and simmer another hour or two. Skim, strain and chill overnight. The chilled stock will become very gelationous.
- Bring stock up to a low boil and add 1 can of the northern beans, simmer 20 minutes (these are pre-cooked). Using a blender, puree the 2nd can of beans and add this to the simmering soup. Simmer while you make the cornbread.
- Add chunks fo ham to the soup. Optional..also add diced onions.
Southern Style Cornbread
- 3/4 cup corn meal
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Use a metal pan and place 2 T. bacon fat or butter in pan and warm pan in oven.
- Mix together all dry ingerdients and then add all wet ingredients except melted butter. Pour into heated/greased pan. Pour melted butter on top. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden.