Monday, May 18, 2009

Blackberry Winter

Blackberry Winter is a brief period of cold weather in spring. Here in the mountains, it generally occurs around mid-May, and coincides with the blooming of the blackberries, thus the name. We are having it.

After I had exhausted the free ham I received at Easter, cooking everything I could think of that involved ham, I put the bone in the freezer. I was planning ahead for Senate Bean Soup for Blackberry Winter.

Stories and recipes for this famous soup, which is served in the Senate's restaurant every day, are many and varied. The actual soup is simple and has very few ingredients. My only variation is that I used ham bone, rather than ham hocks. And I only used 1 pound of beans because I was serving the two of us. This is the official recipe.

The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup Recipe

For Blackberry Winter

2 pounds dried navy beans

four quarts hot water

1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

Wash the navy beans and run hot water through them until they are slightly whitened. Place beans into pot with hot water. Add ham hocks and simmer approximately three hours in a covered pot, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Dice meat and return to soup. Lightly brown the onion in butter. Add to soup. Before serving, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.

That's it, simple as can be. With cornbread, this made a satisfying supper on a cold spring night. I saved some of the browned onions for garnish and also sprinkled with a few drops of hot sauce.

1 comment: