January 14, 2015

A Month of Soups: Ham and Bean Soup

I love using my slow cooker on busy days, and what is more perfect in the slow cooker than a big pot of soup?

After our Christmas dinner I'd put the bone from our ham into the freezer, to be made into ham and bean soup on a busy day sometime in January, which is National Soup Month. That was a really good ham, by the way. As well as the meaty bone, there were a few slices of ham left over, so those went into the freezer also.

The night before making the soup I put about half a pound of great northern beans into a large bowl and covered them with plenty of water. In the morning I poured off the water and put the beans in the slow cooker with the ham bone, added water, chicken stock and seasonings, and let it cook while I ran my errands in town.

When I returned home, I chopped the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and potato, and added them to the slow cooker. I also pulled off all the meat bits from the ham bone and chopped the leftover ham I'd put in the freezer. I returned the ham to the slow cooker and discarded the bone. The soup cooked away in my Crockpot (affiliate link) for the rest of the day while I made a loaf of bread, swept and mopped the tile floors, filled all the water troughs since the weather was above freezing, and worked a bit on my work-at-home very-part-time job.

The house smelled wonderful when hubby came home from work, and the beans were nice and soft with a very rich broth. We added salt to taste before serving - I don't know if this is true, but my mother taught me not to put salt in a bean dish until it's ready to eat, because salt will keep the beans from getting soft. True or not, that's what I do, because I don't want to find out the hard way that she was right.

Ham and Bean Soup

2 cups dry great northern beans
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 ham bone
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp savory
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste
1/2 chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove of minced garlic
1 potato, cubed

The night before making the soup, soak the beans in a large bowl of water. In the morning, drain off the water and add the beans to the slow cooker with the ham bone, chicken broth, water and seasonings. Turn slow cooker to medium for four hours.

Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and potato cubes. Remove the ham bone and pull off the meat bits; return the meat to the soup and discard the bone. Cook on medium setting for several hours longer. Add salt to taste and serve with crusty, homemade bread.

A Month of Soups 2014:
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Ham and Bean Soup

A Month of Soups 2013:
Chicken and Mushroom Soup
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
French Onion Soup
Albondigas Soup

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops
including Simple Lives Thursday and Front Porch Fridays.


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  1. First off - yummy! I adore ham soups, and this looks like an amazing one. the version my mom & I generally make has potatoes and cabbage in it & we eat it with cornbread.

    second, I found a fun little article in a Cook's Illustrated magazine that recommends salting your bean soaking water for tender bean skins. they say 3 tablespoons to a gallon of water.

    In spite of that much salt, none gets into the bean, it simply changes the protein structure of the skins.
    When the soaking is finished, simply drain, rinse and cook as normal. The beans will taste amazing.

    Thanks for posting.

  2. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:22 PM

    Thank you, Leah, I'll be giving that a try!

  3. I love soup! This bean and ham looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great post and it looks like yummy soup. It definitely isn't soup month here but I am going to book mark this recipe for a couple of months time. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  5. My hubby is off to by our missing ingredients LOL We loved your chicken and wild rice soup so much that when I told him you had another soup recipe he came running to the computer! LOL Thanks for sharing on the (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop!

  6. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead10:18 PM

    How funny, Mindie! I like this one even better than the chicken and wild rice soup; I hope you'll love it too!


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