Monday, March 16, 2009

Cabbage Bean Ham Soup

Bean Cabbage Ham Soup

Dorcas Annette Walker

The past weeks have been stormy with freezing temperatures. I’ve cooked a pot of soup on my stove every time the weather turns frigid. The other night I told my husband I could feel the temperature dropping and my bones said snow. He laughed at me as there wasn’t any snow in the forecast. Guess what? The next morning we woke up to a couple inches of snow. No matter what the weatherman says these bones of mine are an accurate weather prediction. So as we finish up the month I thought I’d share one of my hearty soups that not only feeds the body and warms the bones, but is guaranteed to rejuvenate the soul.

I’ve been asked several times how I make my photos. One of my readers, who hated anything to do with coconut, told me that she finally had to try my coconut pie as the picture and my descriptive details made her mouth water. She made my pie and loved it. Then a recent picture of my cherry cheese pie evidently had some of the Herald-Citizen staff drooling as the head editor joked that they would soon have to require me to send a sample along with my recipes. Others have said that my pictures make them hungry. So I must be doing something right.

Actually each photo is a week-long procedure. As I plan my recipe ahead for the week I begin thinking about the photograph and how to tie it in with theme for the month or any holidays surrounding it. Then I consider contrasting colors and where I want my focus to be. On very rare occasions my first shot has been a winner. Normally it takes me a couple hours until I get what I am aiming for. I have already spent half a day shooting numerous angles, changing lighting effects, and using diverse backgrounds as reflected colors give off different values. Also using real food is challenging as it tends to have a mind of its own. After getting some pictures that please me I start looking for sharp clear lines. I often end up with a couple of snapshots that I have to closely scrutinize to eliminate or decide which picture speaks to me. Even after obtaining a good picture I still will mull over the photo to see if there is another twist that would draw a person more into the picture or make my recipe look irresistible. Then when I am satisfied I critique how my print will show up in black and white when published in the newspaper.

I’ll confess that there are times when I still am not pleased with the end results, but the few times I know I’ve captured a mouth-watering photograph makes all my efforts worthwhile. Frankly I’d probably go crazy if I didn’t have a fascination with taking pictures, possess a wild imagination that has saved me on more than one occasion, and loved working with food. I’ve learned through trial and error what works for me. And if my photography strikes a chord with you them I am well repaid.

My Bean Cabbage Ham Soup has a hint of chili flavor that gives this creamy soup a unique twist while the chili beans and tomatoes add color. The Bean Cabbage Ham Soup can also be prepared in a Crockpot by halving the recipe. Preparation time for my Bean Cabbage Ham Soup is 3-5 hours and this recipe serves twenty.

Bean Cabbage Ham Soup

Soak 2lbs of white beans overnight in water. Rinse and put soaked beans into a large cooking kettle.

Cover with water and add:
1 large onion diced
1 meaty ham bone
1 cabbage head cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tb salt
¼ tsp black pepper
Cook for a couple of hours until the beans and cabbage are soft.

Then add:
1 (15 oz) can of hot chili beans
1 qt of tomatoes diced
1 tsp chili powder
Bring to a boil and let simmer for another hour. Serve hot with cornbread!

Weekly tip: Adding 1 tsp of baking soda to hard shelled beans when they are cooking helps to break down the beans during cooking and reduce the effects of gas!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Mountain Cookin page and blog at:

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