A Southern Grace: hamming it up

January 23, 2018

hamming it up


Ham and bean soup. My oven is fixed, but I'm still digging the slow cooker soups!

I have a special place in my heart for ham and bean soup. I would eat it often during graduate school, usually in a bread bowl, and it was awesome. In retrospect, I really didn't appreciate the quality and convenience of our on-campus dining halls! Frankly, it's no wonder so many college kids put on weight, even without the partying that some do!

That's neither here nor there. What is here is some delicious, nutritious, and hearty soup that will knock any chill right out of your body. Lots of vegetables, ample spices, and plenty of beans and ham make it an all-around ideal meal. I used ham leftover from Christmas, and while it probably didn't flavor the soup as aggressively as a ham hock would've, it still tasted properly hammy.

We got 2 inches of snow last week and it's been very close to single digit temperatures here in NC, and that's something I didn't sign up for when I moved farther south! It definitely helps to have a steaming bowl of delicious soup to warm me up.

Bean Soup with Ham
(printable recipe)
Serves 8-10
  • 1 pound dry white beans (any will do!)
  • Water, enough to cover dry beans by 2 inches for overnight soak
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken broth, as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 cups coarsely chopped ham
  • Juice of 1 lime
The night before cooking the soup, rinse the beans and remove any debris; place in a large bowl and cover with water by at least 2" and soak beans overnight. They will more than double in size so choose your bowl accordingly.
The next morning, drain and thoroughly rinse the soaked beans and transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
Add all the remaining ingredients except the lime juice into the slow cooker and add about 5 cups of chicken broth, or just enough to cover the beans and veggies. Reserve any remaining chicken broth for later.
Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for an additional 5 to 6 hours. Stir occasionally during cooking time.
If, like me, you prefer a creamier texture, when the beans are tender, remove the bay leaf then transfer about 1/3 of the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. You could also use an immersion blender for a few seconds.
Return the puréed soup to slow cooker, adding more broth, only if needed, to reach desired consistency. Cover and continue to cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the lime juice, then taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.


Angie's Recipes said...

Looks soul comforting and delicious!

Agness of Run Agness Run said...

Yum! This dish is so remarkable and appetizing, Grace! What kind of onion do you use?

Pam said...

Ham and bean soup is one of my all time favorites. Your soup looks wonderful!

Gingi said...

That looks delicious, perfect for sitting around a backyard bonfire I'd wager! <3 - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

grace said...

@Agness: Just a plain ol' yellow onion!

All That I'm Eating said...

You can just see how much flavour you've packed into that soup! This is right up my street!

Cecilia said...

Slow cooking soups are my absolute favorites! Your recipe will be made this week! Thank you for the inspiration!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

This is my kind of soup!
Some of the pics I've seen coming out of your area showed more snow than what we have on the ground. With that in mind, you better keep the soup pot out!

Anonymous said...

Yep that looks like my kinda soup alright

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

I agree that soup is perfect when the days are cool (or frigid) Grace! I haven't been able to find local dried beans and I am missing bean soups so much :(. Well, next fall!

lisa is cooking said...

My Mom made ham and bean soup when I was growing up. It always seemed to coincide with a really cold day. It's a great way to stay warm!

Marcelle said...

This is my family's kind of soup for sure!! Love all of these flavors :)

Emma - Bake Then Eat said...

Slow cookers make the best soups and stews.