Cooking for a crowd can be an extremely difficult task, particularly for the home cook with an average-sized kitchen. Though some meals are simply best left to the professional caterers, there are those times when there is nothing better than a home-cooked dish. Perhaps it's for a family reunion potluck or an office party or a school picnic. Whatever the occasion, when it's not all about the baked goods and sweets, here's a delicious white bean soup recipe that can easily feed a crowd - and then some.
The recipe makes about 100 servings, so you can easily cut the recipe in half or make enough to have freezable leftovers when all you want is a warm bowl of homemade soup without the hassle. Rather than using canned white beans, this recipe calls for dried beans. But rather than requiring an overnight soak, the recipe instructions step you through a version of the hot soak method of preparing dried beans, which not only reduces the total cooking time but also produces tender beans. Then, ham bones provide a wealth of rich flavor to the beans.
- 6 pounds dry white beans (about 3½ quarts)
- 7 gallons ham or chicken stock
- 8 ham bones
- 4 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (about 2 pounds)
- 2 3/4 cups shredded carrots (about 1 pound)
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 3 cups cold water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Rinse white beans in a strainer under cool water, being sure to discard any discolored or damaged beans.
- Place rinsed beans in a large kettle with stock and ham bones; bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are tender.
- While beans are simmering, prepare the onion and carrots.
- After 2-3 hours of simmering, stir the onion, carrots, and pepper into the beans. Cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
- Combine cold water and flour in a separate bowl until smooth and then gradually stir into soup until thickened.
- Cook for an additional 10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add additional water until you've reached your desired consistency.
Recipe Source: Jene Cain, Northridge, California. This recipe came to us from Jene Cain from Northridge, CA who obviously has some experience cooking for a crowd. Reprinted with permission.