Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pennsylvania Dutch White Bean Soup

I've been sick for the first time in a long time and decided to make an old classic from my German grandmother - White Bean Soup. This is her Pennsylvania Dutch version and was one of my father's favorite soups. I took the picture before it was fully done as when you cook it longer, it turns into a creamy white and I wanted you to see what was in this delicious soup. I had a leftover hambone (a spiral sliced ham to be exact) in the freezer from Easter. It still had lots of ham on it so I put it directly into the pot still frozen, added water and the White Beans that had previously been soaking and cooked it up for two hours Then I took out the bone and added in lightly sautéed Carrots, Celery, Onion, Bay Leaf and Thyme and cooked it for another hour. Meanwhile, I cut all the ham off the bone that I could and then added it back in before serving.  It was so delicious!  The only thing I didn't do was to add Rivels - a Pennsylvania Dutch version of Spaetzle or little handmade noodles but I wanted to keep it Gluten Free. I added the recipe in case you want to add it as it does add another wonderful chewy texture to the soup. This is a warming, homey, nourishing and deeply delicious bowl of goodness!

Pennsylvania Dutch White Bean Soup

2 cups small White Beans, soaked in water overnight
8 cups diluted Chicken Broth (half canned broth and half water)
1 meaty Ham Bone (from a  Spiral Sliced Ham)
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 Large Bay Leaf
1 large Onion, minced
3 Carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of Celery, cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon Butter

Drain the beans and add to a large soup pot with the Chicken Broth and the Ham Bone. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer Cover and cook for 2 hours Remove the Hambone and put aside.  In a large frying pan, heat the butter and add in the Onions, Carrots and Celery.  Cook until the onion is translucent. Then add to the Bean Soup pot. Cook for an additional one hour. Remove the ham from the bone and chop. Add back to the soup to serve.

If adding Rivels, return the Bean Soup to a boil and crumble the Rivels into the Soup (recipe below). Cover tightly and cook for 10 minutes - no peeking!


1 cup Flour
1 Egg, well beaten
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Place flour in a mixing bowl and add in the Milk, Egg and Salt. Mi together with a fork until the mixture comes together in crumbles. Pick up the pieces of dough and drop into the soup in pieces as small as you can make them. 

Five Element Analysis

Beans belong to the Metal Element and this is a fairly broth based soup so it definitely comes from the Water Element. The Ham adds even more of the Water Element. The Celery and Chicken Broth contribute the Wood Element and if you make the Rivels, the wheat flour adds even more Wood.  The Carrots bring in the Earth Element and the Onions, Bay Leaf and Thyme add the Metal Element. Only the Fire Element is missing, so serving this soup with a Lettuce and Tomato salad would make it a completely balanced Five Element meal!

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