Hot Ham Paste (Ham and Black Bean Soup)


On Christmas, I made a fabulous Bourbon Cider Glazed Ham, and of course I ended up with a hambone left over.  That means it’s time for soup!  I started with this recipe from Three Many Cooks, but it turned into Hot Ham Paste — it looks like paste, with a smack of ham!  Actually, it has a porky, smoky, earthy taste to it, with a little bit of heat that builds as you eat it.  I really just wanted to run with the Arrested Development joke there.

I had bought some tasso to use in the green beans at Christmas, so I diced some of that and added it in for a little extra ham and spice.  I didn’t have a jalapeno, and wanted a little more smokiness and heat, so I tossed in a spoonful of pureed chipotles in adobo.  I love chipotles in adobo, and after I’ve used some, I save the rest of the can by pureeing it all together.  It makes for a nice extra smoke and spice when you need it.

Hot Ham Paste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp spicy paprika
  • 1½ tsp oregano
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cans black beans
  • 1 hambone, with some meat on it
  • 4-6 oz tasso or bacon or other pork product (optional)
  • 1 Tbs pureed chipotles in adobo
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or soup pot and add onion, pepper and carrot.  Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the cumin, paprikas and oregano, and stir.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Add half the beans, the hambone, the tasso, the chipotle paste and the bay leaves.  Simmer for a half an hour and add the remainder of the beans.

Simmer for about an hour, then remove the hambone and remove the rest of the meat and add the meat back into the pot.  Take about half of the soup and puree it in a blender and return it to the dutch oven.

Continue to simmer until reduced to the right consistency.  I ended up simmering it for about 6 hours, but that’s mostly because I forgot about it when I went to sleep and woke up at 5 A.M. with almost burned soup.  A little extra water, and it turned back into a thick rich hearty soup.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

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