Make-ahead Lunch Weeks 3, 4: Ham Bone, Greens, and Bean Soup

Well, make-ahead lunch week 3 got eaten by Snowzilla here in DC.  Couldn’t get out for ingredients.  Too much shoveling to make lunch on Sunday.  Didn’t get out to work a couple of days that week so no lunch needed.

Existing stocks of Peruvian Vegetable Soup and Burritos tided me over the days I did go to work.  All goodness

So this Sunday the snow was largely melted, the game was on again, and so I found a soup recipe that was 1) fibre-tacious, 2) within my capabilities, 3) would freeze easily.

Indirectly, an article on soups that freeze led me to this Melissa Clark recipe for Ham Bone, Greens, and Bean Soup.

A bunch of kale, a half-head of cabbage.  All good.  Used canned beans instead of dry.  Okey-dokey.

The ham bone itself was a problem.  Our Whole Foods doesn’t do deep dish butcher-y things like cut ham bones in three.  I sometimes even think they make meat without any bones, innards, or waste.  Well, not really, but they give a good simulation.

In any case, Debbie was at the Whole Foods while I was doing stuff at the hardware store, and she got a already-cooked ham hock with bone in.

So I figured with the canned beans and the already-cooked ham there was excess cooking time in the recipe.  I went straight to the cabbage and kale after bringing the ham to a boil, and thus reduced the cooking time by 1/2 hour.

Oh, and I used chicken stock instead of water.  I prefer stock to water most of the time anyhow, and who knows what would happen with an ersatz (or at least jury-rigged) ham bone.

It was a huge amount of soup  I froze four portions and there were still 3-4 portions left for the fridge.  I had some for breakfast this morning.  Pretty tasty.

The make-ahead scheme for the year is taking shape.  Each Sunday make one new dish and have enough portions of the previous dish(es) left over to insure that there’s A/B variety each week.

This is all quite feasible in soup season, because these soups are actually pretty easy to make.  I don’t know how it’s going to go once we get to salad season, since salads seem at least much more hard to keep than freeze-able soups.

I’m improving in my ability to eyeball a recipe and see if it’ll taste good and be within my powers to prepare.  I guess it’s like sight-reading music.  If you do it enough you build up a skill for it.  Unlike sight-reading, you don’t have to do it in real time.

I’m also very marginally improving in my abilities to prep food quickly and efficiently.  I can chop a bit better, particularly since I’ve begun to sharpen my knives a bit more diligently.  If you take the time to put a decent edge on them they keep the edge better, so you get more effortless chopping and less holding-and-separating between chops.  But maybe I should take a course in food prep or something.  Couldn’t hurt.

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