Friday, April 9, 2010

ButterYum's Ham and Bean Soup

One of the most delicious ways I've found to use up leftover ham is to make a big pot of this fantastic soup - the beans are so creamy and the broth is so full of flavor that your guests will definitely want seconds! If you've never made ham stock, have no fear - it's extremely easy. I like to use dried beans, but if you must, you can use canned beans - just don't tell me about it.

(recipe can be found at the end of this post)

Step 1 - Make the Ham Stock:

We start by making the ham stock. Place the ham bone in a stockpot and cover with 10-12 cups of cold water. Add 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (skin and all), a couple of cloves of garlic which have been smashed, a tablespoon of dried parsley (or fresh parsley stems if you have them), and 2 bay leaves.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 60-90 minutes.  In the meantime, begin step 2.

Step 2 - Pre-soak the Beans:
Sort and rinse 1 pound of dried beans. Place them in a soup pot large enough to cover with 2 inches of water. I used a mixture of half pinto and half navy beans. Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. Do not add any seasoning at this point.

The beans will begin to float shortly before the water boils.

When the water begins to boil, turn the heat off, cover, and let the beans soak for 1 hour.

This is what the beans look like after soaking for an hour. They've plumped up a bit and are beginning to soften, but they aren't soft enough to eat yet. Discard all the cooking liquid and reserve the beans for step 3.

Step 3 - Make the Soup:
Saute the onions and carrots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until softened and beginning to caramelize.

Add 8 cups of ham stock, half of the remaining dried parsley, bay, ground black pepper, and thyme (no salt yet). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to to a gentle roll and cook for 1-2 hours, or until the beans are soft and creamy; stirring occasionally. Add the remaining parsley and diced ham; season with salt if needed. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the ham is heated through. Enjoy!

ButterYum's Ham and Bean Soup
serves 6-8

To make the Ham Stock:
Ham Bone
10-12 cups cold water
1 medium onion, roughly chopped (onion trimmings and skin too)
4 cloves of garlic, smashed (just give them a good whack to make them split open)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley

To make the Soup:
1 pound dried beans - pre-soaked overnight, or quick-soaked as directed below
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
8 cups ham stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley, divided
3 cups leftover ham, diced into bite-size pieces (about 1 pound)
salt to taste (don't add until serving)

This entire soup can be ready in as little as 3 hours. Start by placing your ham bone in a stock pot and cover it with 10-12 cups of cold water. Add the onions, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the quick soaking process for the beans (next step) is done (60-90 minutes).

Skip this step if you thought ahead and soaked your beans in cold water overnight. Otherwise, it's time to pre-cook your dried beans. Rinse in cold water and remove any icky looking beans, stems, small stones, etc. Place the beans in a pot large enough so they can be covered with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, cover, let beans soak for 1 hour, drain, reserve. The beans should have swelled quite a bit and should be softening, although they shouldn't be soft enough to eat yet.

To proceed with the recipe, in a 6-quart or larger soup pot, saute the onions and carrots in a tablespoon of olive oil until softened and edges start to caramelize. Add the reserved beans, 8 cups of ham stock, bay leaf, thyme, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of dried parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a gentle roll and cook for 1-2 hours, or until the beans are soft and creamy; stirring occasionally.

Add leftover ham and remaining dried parsley (1 tablespoon); heat cook for a few minutes more until the ham is heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a big hunk of chewy bread. Heaven!!

Note - 1 pound of dried beans equals about 3-4 cans of rinsed and drained beans. Leftover ham stock can be frozen for future use, or you can use it to cook dried beans which can also be frozen for future use.


  1. Patricia, this soup looks delicious, I love beans and Ham.

  2. Perfect timing. I have a big ham bone in my frig and was going to make bean soup this weekend! Love your recipe. I'll try yours. Two things I do that I'll add to this recipe is to use a tsp of chili powder and the juice of 1 lemon. The lemon makes it taste so bright!

    I love the way you cook the bean, I don't do that, but will now. I can see that is why they are so creamy.
    Thanks for another brilliant recipe.

  3. Yvonne - you are making my mouth water. I'll often add a sprinkle of vinegar to brighten the flavor, but lemon juice would be so much better! And I actually thought about adding a touch of chili powder, but thought my latest savory recipes all seemed to call for chili powder, or canned chipotles, or cumin, or smoked paprika... so I scrapped that idea. I know it would taste fabulous though!!


  4. Looks great! I'm always looking for new ways to use dried beans. Your seasonings sound delish. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This looks so warming and nourishing, Patricia. Have you noticed how soups like this taste so much better the next day? It's a good reason to make plenty for leftovers.

  6. This looks delicious. Nothing like great soup in cold, rainy weather, which we're in the middle of AGAIN on the west coast. I miss seeing your HCB cakes.

  7. Wow- What a beautiful looking soup...ham and beans are a favorite combo of mine. We are still battling off some cool Spring weather here, so this soup may find its way to my table VERY soon. - S

  8. I appreciate all your efforts and gorgeous pics! I love soup and you made me say "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" out loud.. TY!

  9. Homemade ham bone stock.... can't beat it for bean soup. Great recipe and makes me want to go see my Mom.

  10. Yum!! This looks so good! I'll definitely have to give it a try.

  11. This looks wonderful. It will go right into my recipe file!

  12. Scrumptious! Our family has a similar recipe with somewhat of a Texan twist. And yes, we use dried beans as well! I'll have to try this version - it's definitely becoming Soup Season once again! -diane

  13. Mmmmm, looks delicious! I love soups during cold weather. Thanks for the recipe!


  14. Hi Patricia...

    Mmmm...fabulous recipe! I love soup and I love ham & beans! I'll definitely be giving your recipe a try...thanks for sharing it with us this week for Sunday Favorites! Oooh...this soup is perfect for this time of the year!

    Warmest autumn wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design


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