Happy Day 3 of Arrested Development Week! Only 6 days to go, and you, my little chicken dancers, must be hungry. And that’s what this is for. A solid springtime meal for a solid springtime Monday.
You may be in a sweets coma, after all–did you see these insane frozen bananas that Elizabeth at SugarHero made for you/us? They put the Bluths’ bananas to shame, but we all know the Bluths are only in it for the money. This is frozen bananas, with love (i.e. sprinkles).
So, to help you recover, we’re making soup. In honor of Lindsay Bluth Funke, born Nellie Sitwell: charity event-thrower, cause taker-upper (HOOP, anyone?), shopper, unsuccessful business launcher, hands-off mother (to someone who just happens to be one of the coolest characters in television–so “Maeby” there’s something to the Funkes’ parenting style; I’m just saying).
(Yes, if I had children, it’s possible I would gather parenting insights from sitcoms. Let’s all be grateful that I do not.)
Lindsay is by no means domestic, but when she tries, you get a big spoonful of Hot Ham Water. It’s a fine idea–and revolutionary, to boot–but I’m thinking Hot Ham and Vegetable Water would be even better.
Usually when you see a ham soup, it’s not only hearty, but heavy. There’s usually potatoes, and probably cream. It’s May, though–the world is a greener, fresher place. Let’s act accordingly!
All I really did here is adapt a light vegetable soup, loaded with fresh, interesting, flavorful spring produce to begin with, by the addition of smoked pork goodness. It goes from “light” to “hearty,” but stops before we get all the way to “heavy.” It’s filling and comforting–perfect for rainy spring days (which are happening… Somewhere, I am sure).
Shelling fresh fava beans take some effort, but their unique, quintessentially beanlike flavor gets to me every time. It’s a two-step process: first the outer pod comes off, then we blanch and remove the tough, waxy outer layer of the actual bean. Here’s a helpful tutorial, if you’d like.
However, if you can’t find them or would just rather save time, frozen lima beans or edamame would make a fine substitute.
…I don’t think I need to explain this part–it’s a mountain of shredded ham. You best believe I sampled.
After the shelling of the beans and the shredding of the pork, everything comes together really quickly, I promise. And besides, you have the afternoon free, right? Or did “nothing” cancel? (AD joke, of course.)
“So watery… And yet there’s a smack of ham to it.”
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- 2 lbs ham hocks or shanks
- 2 quarts water
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (from about 2 pounds unshelled)
- 5 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 ounces asparagus, tough ends trimmed, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat until shimmering, then add leeks; saute until are tender but not brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add the water and ham, and bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for an hour or so.
- Remove the ham shanks/hocks from the water and, when cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bone (it'll fall right off) and shred with hands (or just use forks and do it immediately). Reserve bones and gristle to make some seriously good stock.
- Meanwhile, add the carrot, fava beans and green beans to the pot and simmer for 8 minutes or so, until almost tender, then add asparagus and half of the basil and simmer until all vegetables are cooked through and tender. Return the shredded ham to the pot. Taste and season (you probably won't need to do much--a bit of freshly cracked black pepper will likely do). Stir in the rest of the basil and serve.
- Serves 4-6, depending on whether they're scared to eat in front of you. (How did just three seasons of a show give us SO MANY JOKES?)