A delicious way to use up that leftover ham bone. I added an additional two cups water and let the ham bone simmer in the first stage for an hour longer. I simmered uncovered but then just by sight covered later when it looked like too much water was evaporating. I also added couple diced potatoes with the beans. I didn't have bacon so didn't do that step though it sounds delicious. My ham bone had ham on it so I chopped it to little pieces when I took the bone out and added to soup. Great soup, and WAY better the next day!
4 strips bacon, thick cut, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ham bone (1 1/4 pounds), cut in half or in thirds (ask your butcher to do this)
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus additional to taste
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded (about 8 cups)
3 cups cooked beans (rinsed and drained if canned), such as cannellini, navy or pinto
1 small bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
Black pepper, to taste
Hot sauce or apple cider vinegar, to taste.
1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
2. Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pot. Stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Drop in the ham bone and bay leaf. Cover with 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and simmer 30 minutes. Add the beans and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the kale and simmer until soft, but vibrantly green, about 15 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste). Add lots of pepper and a dash of hot sauce or vinegar. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.