Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ham, bean and kale stew

I have so much leftover protein from before/Christmas/after that it's not even funny. Not even a little bit.
In a quest to do something with it other than just eat it over and over for dinner (don't worry, we froze it -- no food poisoning going on here, I hope), I've been looking for ways to "repurpose" our leftovers.
With the leftover standing rib roast, I made vegetable beef barley soup. And after we ate that for dinner, I froze the leftover soup for lunches.
With some of the leftover ham, I made this stew. I froze it all, because no one wants to eat bean soup in the house but me. (they're no fun) And it made a mighty fine lunch today, if I do say so myself.

adapted slightly from Serious Eats

1 pound dried beans such as Great Northern, Cannellini, or Tarbais, soaked in water at room temperature overnight. (I used Navy beans, actually)
1 pound leftover smoked ham bones, scraps, and/or meat
3 quarts low-sodium chicken stock or water (I used a combo of the two)
1 large onion, split
1 large clove garlic
3 bay leaves
Kosher salt
1 large bunch picked kale leaves (about 2 quarts loosely packed)
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Sherry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar, because that's what I had in the house)

Combine beans, ham, stock or water, onion, garlic, and bay leaves in large Dutch oven. Add 1 teaspoon salt (or not, I didn't) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium low and simmer until beans are completely tender, about 45 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep beans covered at all times.. remove ham and set aside. Discard onion, garlic, and bay leaves.
When ham is cool enough to handle, shred meat into small pieces with fingers and return to pot with beans. Discard bones. Add kale to beans. Bring to a vigorous simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until some beans have broken down completely, liquid is reduced to thick stew-like consistency, and kale is completely tender, about 30 minutes longer.
Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper and serve immediately in shallow bowls, drizzling with plenty of extra-virgin olive oil (I omitted this) and a sprinkle of vinegar. Serve with crusty bread toasted with olive oil. (I did not have the bread, but I wish I did)

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