Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recipe for Cannellini Bean and Lentil Stew with Ham

Cannellini Bean and Lentil Stew with Ham
Last weekend the eastern part of the U.S. had an unseasonable heat wave, but in Utah it was cold and rainy both days. It seems like my brain is hardwired to the weather, because when it's cold outside, I have to make soup or stew. I certainly hadn't planned on it, but I looked in the cupboards and fridge, combined a few things, and came up with this bean stew. I'm calling it stew instead of soup, because I cooked it for a long time so most of the lentils dissolved and thickened the broth. This was delicious with some crusty 100% whole wheat bread, (although I wouldn't mind making salad if the weatherman wants to send a heat wave this weekend!)

Cannellinis are white kidney beans that have great flavor and keep their shape better than most white beans. I've only been using them a few years, but I really like them. I hope they're unusual enough that this meets the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging, sponsored by Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once and hosted this week by Maninas: Food Matters.

More About Cannellini Beans:
Cannellini Beans from The Perfect Pantry
Cannellini Beans from Fine Cooking
What Are Cannellini Beans from Wise Geek

Cannellini Bean and Lentil Stew with Ham
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 (14.5 oz.) cans cannellini beans, or 1 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and cooked
3/4 cup brown lentils
5 cups ham stock or chicken stock
ham rinds or ham flavor base to flavor the stew (Optional, but recommended. If you don't have ham rinds, use Ham Flavor Base, made by Penzeys or Goya.)
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup diced ham (or more if not using ham rinds or ham flavor base)
1-2 T balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper to taste

If using dried beans, soak overnight in cold water, then drain, add fresh water, and cook over low heat until beans are softened but still have a slight bite to them. This will take 40 minutes to an hour, or possibly more, depending on how old the beans are. When beans are cooked but firm, they're ready to be used in the recipe.

If using canned beans, drain into colander placed in the sink, then rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let drain until needed for recipe.

Chop carrots, celery, and onions into fairly small pieces. Chop ham into slightly larger pieces, reserving ham rinds if there are any.

In medium sized soup pot, add lentils, ham or chicken stock, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, bay leaves, dried thyme, dried oregano, and ham rinds if you have any. (If I don't have ham rinds I use a teaspoon or so of ham flavor base.) Let simmer at low heat about 30 minutes, until lentils and vegetables are starting to soften.

Remove bay leaves and ham rinds (if using.) Add cannellini beans, diced ham, and about 1 cup water (depending on how much liquid has cooked out.) Continue to simmer at low heat, 45 minutes or more, until most of lentils have at least partly broken apart and dissolved into the broth. Taste for seasoning and add more black pepper and salt if desired. (I didn't add any salt.) Stir in balsamic vinegar, turn off heat and serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This type of bean stew is good for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any type of low-glycemic eating plan. I ate my stew with 100% whole wheat bread, which would be great for phase 2 or 3. For phase one, eat with something like Arugula Salad with Feta and Fresh Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette.

More Ideas with Cannellini Beans:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil
Turkey and Cannellini Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Rosemary
Cannellini Bean Soup with Roasted Italian Sausage and Escarole
Cannellini Beans in Mint Marinade
Cannellini Bean Soup with Tomatoes, Sage, and Baby Spinach from Lucullian Delights
Cannellini Vinaigrette from The Perfect Pantry
Cannellini and Grape Tomato Salad with Lemon Dressing from Lisa's Kitchen
Cannellini, Fennel, and Olives from The Well-Seasoned Cook
White Bean "Hummus" from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Italian White Bean and Spinach Soup from Sunday Nite Dinner
(Want even more cannellini beans recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. Just take out the ham, and I'd love this! ;)

  2. Ricki, you could definitely make it without ham!

  3. Ha ha... I'm the same... if the temps dip below 70, I'm making soup. This one sound delicious and I will definitely make it the next time we get a cold front.... like say in November.

  4. This sounds wonderful -- with or without the ham!


  5. Oh, yea...I make soup all year and it gets pretty hot and steamy where I am in the summer. Soup is good (and healthy) food!

  6. Looks very yummy and comforting!

  7. I love lentils and cannellini... and ham! Our weather has been cold and rainy too, I keep buying lettuce, hoping for warmth and then not eating it because I want soup... (I force myself)


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