Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, Y’all by Virginia Willis (Ten Speed Press, 2008)
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 ham bone, with some meat
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 sprig thyme
6 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can tomato purée
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juices
2 cups shelled fresh butter beans (about 1½ pounds unshelled) or frozen butter beans, thawed
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
Ground black pepper
3 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Scraped kernels from 4 ears fresh sweet corn (about 2 cups)
¼ pound fresh okra, stems trimmed, cut into ½-inch pieces (optional)
1. In a large pot, place ham bone, bay leaves, thyme, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease heat to low, and simmer until broth is flavorful and fragrant, approximately 1 hour.
2. Add tomato purée, whole tomatoes with juices, butter beans, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking on low heat until butter beans are just tender, approximately 30 minutes. Add carrots, celery, potatoes, green beans, corn, and okra. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender, approximately 30 additional minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
3. Enjoy with hot biscuits.