Ham and Bean Soup

Easy Ham and Bean Soup

There’s something undeniably comforting about a bowl of homemade ham and bean soup. It reminds me of my childhood, growing up in a close-knit community where food was the centerpiece of every gathering. I recall one winter evening at my neighbor’s house, where the aroma of simmering soup filled the air, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere that brought everyone closer. This experience left a lasting impression on me, inspiring my love for cooking and sharing recipes on this blog.

Today, I want to share with you a recipe that’s close to my heart: Ham & Bean Soup. This old-fashioned, hearty soup is a staple in my family, especially during the colder months. It’s a perfect way to use leftover ham and is packed with wholesome ingredients. Whether you’re looking for a comforting meal on a chilly day or wanting to reminisce about the good old days, this ham and bean soup recipe is sure to satisfy.

Ham and Bean Soup

How to Prepare Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 pound of dry great northern beans, sorted and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • ½ stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 cups of chopped ham
  • ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper

Step by Step Directions:

  1. Begin by soaking the great northern beans in water overnight. This will help soften them and reduce cooking time.
  2. In a large pot, add 8 cups of water and the pre-soaked beans. Bring this to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat and add the salt, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, mustard powder, and bay leaves. Stir well.
  4. Add the ham hock to the pot. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.
  5. Remove the ham hock, and add the chopped ham to the soup. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
  6. Season with ground white pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I thicken my ham and bean soup?

Given the recipe, if you prefer a thicker soup, you might consider pureeing a portion of the cooked beans and vegetables before adding the chopped ham. This will naturally thicken the soup without altering its flavor.

Why does my ham and bean soup taste bland?

In this recipe, the key flavor elements come from the ham hock, chopped ham, and mustard powder. If it tastes bland, consider adding more aromatic herbs (such as thyme or rosemary), increasing the amount of mustard powder for a bit more kick, or using a smoked ham hock for deeper flavor.

Is bean soup good for you?

This recipe is quite nutritious, thanks to the high fiber and protein content from the beans, and the variety of vegetables. To increase its healthiness, consider using low-sodium broth instead of water and monitoring the amount of salt used.

Is ham and beans good for you?

This dish is a good source of protein and fiber, but be mindful of the sodium content, especially if you’re using store-bought ham. Choosing low-sodium ham and balancing your meal with fresh vegetables can make it a healthier option.

Can you overcook bean soup?

In recipe, it’s important to monitor the beans to ensure they don’t become too mushy, especially after they have been pre-soaked. The key is to check their texture periodically during the simmering process.

Why is my bean soup so watery?

Given the amount of water in the recipe, it’s possible that the soup might turn out more watery than desired. To remedy this, you could reduce the initial amount of water, especially since the beans are pre-soaked, or let the soup simmer uncovered for a while to reduce the liquid. Adding a thickening agent like a roux is also an option, though it could alter the flavor profile slightly.

How to Thicken Ham and Bean Soup?

If you prefer a thicker soup, there are a couple of methods you can use. One way is to create a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water) and stir it into the soup. Another method is to take a portion of the soup, blend it to a puree, and then stir it back into the pot.

What Kind of Beans Are Best for Ham and Bean Soup?

Great northern beans are a classic choice for this soup due to their mild flavor and firm texture. However, you can also use other white beans like navy beans or cannellini beans.

Can I Use Leftover Ham in This Soup?

Yes, leftover ham is perfect for this recipe. It adds a rich flavor to the soup and is a great way to use up leftovers from a holiday meal or other gatherings.

What Vegetables Can I Add to Ham and Bean Soup?

While this recipe uses carrots, onion, and celery, you can also add potatoes, leeks, or even greens like kale or spinach for extra nutrition and flavor.

Can I Make Ham & Bean Soup in a Slow Cooker?

Yes, it can easily be adapted for a slow cooker. Simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

What Can I Serve with Ham & Bean Soup?

This soup pairs well with crusty bread, a side salad, or grilled cheese sandwiches for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Savor the taste of tradition with our hearty Ham and Bean Soup, a perfect blend of nourishing beans and savory ham in every spoonful!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 26 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 41 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8
...

Ingredients
  

  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 pound of dry great northern beans sorted and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • ½ stalk of celery chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 cups of chopped ham
  • ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper

Instructions
 

  • Start by soaking the great northern beans overnight in water to soften them and decrease the cooking duration.
  • Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, then add the pre-soaked beans.
  • Lower the heat, then mix in salt, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, mustard powder, and bay leaves.
  • Introduce the ham hock to the mixture, cover the pot, and let it simmer until the beans become soft, about 1 hour.
  • Remove the ham hock, stir in the chopped ham, and allow it to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Finish by seasoning with ground white pepper according to your taste and remove the bay leaves before serving.

Notes

If you're short on time or don't have dry beans on hand, you can easily substitute with canned beans. Simply rinse and drain two cans of white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans, and add them to the soup after the vegetables have softened. Since canned beans are already cooked, you'll reduce the simmering time to just enough for the flavors to meld, about 20-30 minutes. This quick swap makes your delicious Ham and Bean Soup even more convenient without compromising on taste!
Keyword BEANS AND PEAS, SOUP RECIPES
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