Monday, January 12, 2009

Ham and Black Bean Soup and Cornbread

OK. Are you ready for the new recipe of the week? Guess what it is. Drum roll please... Yes. Another soup recipe. I promise one day I'll do something different. But I told you we eat a lot of soup in the winter in Indiana. It's good to have a variety so meal time doesn't become boring.

This recipe comes from the Prism Weight Loss Program Cookbook. (Another one of my failed diet attempts.) Still, it has some wonderful recipes that we eat often enough. This recipe is intended for the microwave, which I have successfully done. But, since my microwave is a smaller model that we've had for over a decade, the stove works just as quickly for me.

The cornbread recipe is the one my family has made for generations. It isn't an exact science, so you can't really mess it up. The key is the skillet. It has to be really hot before you add the cornbread mix.

Ham and Black Bean Soup:

1 c. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 tsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
8 oz. cubed lean ham (you can buy this all ready to go in the meat dept.)
2 tsp. butter
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. celery, sliced
1/4 c. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

In a 3 quart casserole microwave, on HIGH, butter for 40 seconds. Add onion, celery, and garlic. With vented cover, microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring once. Add broth, tomato paste, beans, and thyme. Microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes, stirring twice. Add ham, spinach, and Parmesan cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring once.

Makes 4 servings at 156 calories and 5 grams fat each. *Note - I always double this recipe.


Pour a thin covering of oil, lard or tallow in the bottom of an iron skillet (or one that can with stand temperatures to 500 degrees Fahrenheit). Place in the oven and then pre-heat to 450 degrees. This will allow the pan and oil to get really hot while the oven is pre-heating.

This next part is where you can play with it. You want to place 2 parts white cornmeal to 1 part flour in a bowl and stir together. (The amount you use depends on the size of your skillet. I make more when I am feeding a crowd and using my 10" skillet than I do when I am feeding my family and using my 6" skillet. You'll get a feel for how much you need as you make it.) Add 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. salt and a heaping tsp. of baking powder. Stir together. When the oven signals that it has pre-heated add enough buttermilk to the cornmeal and flour mixture to make it the consistency of cake batter. Immediately pour it into the hot skillet (1/2 - 2/3 full) and bake until it is golden brown on top (about 20 minutes). Again, this may be a little longer if you're making a big pan of it.

When it's done run a butter knife around the edges to loosen it from the sides and bottom. Flip it out onto a dinner plate. The bottom will become the top. Slice into wedges. Split each wedge in half and spread with butter.

Note:  To make this gluten-free, substitute g-free all-purpose flour for the regular flour.

It may sound intimidating because there aren't exact measurements. But it's truly one of the easiest things to make. Once you get the hang of the basic recipe you can also add in corn, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, sugar (if you like a sweet cornbread), or anything of your choosing. My husband also likes to eat the plain cornbread at the end of his meal with jelly spread on it as a kind of dessert.

From my family to yours - I hope you give it a try.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it sounds intimidating, but I can do it...yes, I can!


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