I'm not usually much of a bean fan but this chowder is very tasty and I can tolerate the bean texture in it. Maybe my taste buds are maturing.☺Whatever it is I have really learned to enjoy this flavor rich chowder. The recipe comes from my Mom (Esta) and is a testimony to her fantastic cooking skills. It takes kind of long to prepare and involves some time in the fridge so I usually like to make it the day before I want to serve it.
And if you are from Lancaster County you will know why Bean Soup and Snitz Pies are synonymous. I haven't figured it out yet. When I told Lin that I am making Bean Soup the first thing he asked was, "Do you have Snitz Pie?" So I guess until it comes natural for me to think of both at the same time I will have to assume that 'when you're in Rome'...
You start with a bag (2 cups) of dried Great northern beans and 2 quarts of water.
Bring water to a boil in a 4 quart stock pot. Add the dried beans and boil briskly for 2 minutes.
Turn heat off and cover. Let soak for 1 hour. Drain, reserve liquid. Set both aside. Next:
Melt butter in a 6 quart stockpot , saute' onions, celery, and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add the beans and reserved liquid. Next:
Add the chicken broth. Next:
Peel skin off of ham shank and trim excess fat. Discard the fat. Add ham shank, skin pieces, tomatoes, cloves, bay leaf, and fresh ground pepper to the stockpot.
Simmer for 2 hours or until ham is tender. Remove ham shank, skin pieces, bay leaf, and cloves.
Cool and refrigerate the liquid. Cut ham into bite sized pieces and refrigerate in a separate container.
Once the liquid is completely cooled (I like to refrigerate it overnight) skim off the fat.
Add the milk and bring just to a simmer. Add the cheddar cheese. I like to shred the cheese so that it melts better without high heat.
Do not boil at this point or it will become curdly because of the milk. I like to keep it stirred at the simmer point but not let it actually bubble. I then turn it off (the cheese will not be completely melted) and let it set for a while, stirring it occasionally till the cheese is completely melted.
2 quarts water
2 cups dried Great Northern beans
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups finely chopped onion*
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
4 cups reserved liquid
1 pint chicken broth
1-4 lb. ham shank
1 pint chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2½ cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Yield: approx. 4 quart
*If you have a Pampered chef chopper it does a great job with getting it nice and fine.
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