Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup

I have a new obsession with turnips and other root vegetables. I love turnips. They're almost like a potato but with a little spice. I also love my new crock pot I got from my parents for Christmas.

So, I created this delicious recipe so I could use both!

You will need: 1 smoked ham hock, 1 medium onion, 2 turnips, 4 or 5 stalks of celery, 1/2 bunch of kale, 3 large cloves of garlic, 1/2 head of cauliflower, 2 large carrots (or a few handfuls of baby carrots), 6 cups of chicken stock, 2 Tbsp parsley, 2 bay leaves, 2 cans of white kidney beans, and 1 cup of white wine.

This grody looking thing is a ham hock. I know a lot of people have probably never used one, but if you live in the South, you can find them right next to the pork chops in almost any grocery store. This is something your grandmother probably used to cook with, and for good reason. This guy adds a lot of flavor.

Do not fear the ham hock.

You'll want to remove the skin from the hock so make a shallow cut down through the skin.

Now using your knife to help you, peel the skin off of the ham hock. It should separate pretty easily.

Tada! No skin.

Now place the ham hock in a large crock pot.

Now get your turnips. These purple beauties are truly delicious. They are similar to potatoes, but they hold their shape better during this long cooking process.

Peel your turnips with a vegetable peeler..

And dice them into bite sized pieces.

Throw them in with the ham hock.

Next dice up your carrots.

And throw those in too.

Next chop up the 5 stalks of celery, including the leaves! They add a lot of flavor.

And put those in too.

Now dice up one onion and stick it in the crock pot too (I forgot to take a picture of that. I was getting too excited about turnips).

Now we are going to chop up the cauliflower into florets. The best way I have found to do this is to first cut into the leaves around the edges on one side...

Until you have exposed the big stem thing.

Big stem thing is a technical cauliflower term.

Now just chop off the big stem thing.

Now that all of the cauliflower is exposed, you can cut off florets!

Next chop the florets into bite sized pieces.

Until you have a giant pile of cauliflower. Save the rest of this for another recipe or pile it on top of a salad! (I did both!)

Place half of the head of cauliflower into the crock pot.

Also, I am very sorry that I put all of the white vegetables next to each other.

Now get the skins off of your garlic cloves by smashing them with all of your pent up frustrations.

I like to pretend the garlic cloves are my difficult math classes... Anyways, it should be really easy now to get all of the skins off.

See? And I didn't lie to you... I really thought there were only 3 cloves here but when I busted one of them open, two smaller cloves popped out.

Now chop up the garlic.

Weird tip: sprinkle some salt onto the garlic to help keep the garlic from sticking to the knife so badly.

Chopped garlic and a mostly clean knife!

Throw the garlic into the crock pot.

Season with salt...

And pepper.

Add in 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley (or 1 Tbsp of dried)

And two bay leaves.

Now pour in the chicken stock.

It should be enough to just cover the vegetables.

Now cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

Once the time is up, take out the bones from the ham hock and break up the meat a little with 2 forks.

You could take out the meat as well if you wanted, but I am a carnivore and I never want to remove the meat from anything.

Now pour in two cans of drained and rinsed beans.

1 cup of wine...

And tear half the bunch of kale off the stems and rip into bite-sized pieces.

Allow this to cook for another 30 minutes, covered on high.

The kale is nice and tender now, but the beans haven't had time to break apart. Perfect!

Serve with a chunk of crusty bread and some fresh grated parmesan on top.

This soup is great to come home to after a busy day of school, work, or just hanging out.

Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup
Serves: 8

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 turnips, chopped
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 ham hock, skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 2 cans white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed and broken into bite-sized pieces
  • grated parmesan, to garnish
  1. Combine first 11 ingredients in a large crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
  2. After this initial cooking time, add in the wine, beans, and kale. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high.
  3. Serve with warm, crusty bread and grated parmesan on top!


  1. I was looking for soup recipes without MSG. This one might qualify. Was that home made chickenbroth? If not, it probably has added MSG. I use real butter or meat to flavor my soups. Otherwise the soup looks very good, and has a lot of tasty vegetables.
    I like your name. "Real girls eat real butter".

    1. Thank you! That wasn't homemade chicken broth I used in the post but it is so easy to make! I'll be making a post on it soon. Thanks for stopping by!