Okay, so I’m sooooooo NOT a ham person. I mean, it’s okay, but I’m never one to crave a piece of ham. But I knew when I saw the Neely’s recipe for this soup, I was IN and off to the store I went. You see, I’ve been eating homemade soup nearly every time I eat at home this winter. It’s a good way to stretch the budget, eat something that gets increasingly delicious as it sits, and it’s an EXCEPTIONAL way to get all your nutrients in while trimming your waste line! And because I’ve been making and eating a lot of soup (especially of the Italian variety), it was starting to get a bit redundant flavor-wise, you can only eat so much chicken and veggies. So bring on the HAM! Boy, was this delicious!
What you’ll need:
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 to 7-oz) piece smoked ham steak, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 small bunch swiss chard, stemmed and sliced into thin ribbons
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-oz) can of chickpeas or black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can petite diced tomatoes
2 generous dashes of hot sauce
2 generous dashes of Worscestershire sauce
Grated Parmesan for garnish
Add the bacon to a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Fry until crisp, then transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain most of the bacon fat from the Dutch oven and then add the carrots, onion, and garlic, and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ham steak and red pepper flakes and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the swiss chard, and saute until it begins to soften.
Stir in the chicken broth, the chickpeas or black eyed peas, and the canned tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Taste the seasoning and then adjust with salt and pepper, if needed. Throw in your hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a generous amount of Parmesan and bacon crumbles.