I did a bit of cleaning out the cabinets last night while making my shopping list for today. My shopping list is always for the things I actually need. Whilst  shopping, I will also peruse the aisles and pick up things I want. Things that are fresh, new, or otherwise just catch my eye and my imagination.

I’ve always been a lover of beans and would make a pot regularly. Alas, when Nonna moved in, she told me she doesn’t really care for beans, so my bean days kinda stopped. My bean-buying, however, didn’t. I’d still pick up a bag of dried beans now and again – and toss them up to the top shelf with the rest of them. At one point I had five pounds of beans up there. After today, I’m down to one. I’ve been sneaking them into soups and other dishes, but with fresh ham bones in the house, I wanted good ol’ fashioned Bean Soup.

So I made it!

I soak my beans overnight. I get a better result than doing a quick boil – especially when I’m using beans of questionable age – so last night a bag of beans went into a bowl, covered with water. I have actually brined beans from an idea from America’s Test Kitchen, but wasn’t overly impressed. Your mileage may vary.

Today, I drained them and placed them into a pot with a nice, meaty ham bone and covered it all with water. I added a bit of garlic powder, but that was it for seasonings.

I brought it all to a boil and then brought it down to a simmer and let it go for about 2 hours uncovered. There was plenty of water so I didn’t have to worry about them boiling dry – plus, I was in and out of the kitchen.

When they were pretty much done and tender, I pulled out the bone, shredded the meat, and added it back in. I then added some ancho chili powder, chipotle powder, garlic and onion powders, along with a bit of salt and pepper.

That was it. Simple but with lots of flavor.

I made Nonna manicotti.