When the weather turns chilly, my family and I start craving warm, comforting soups. One of our favorites is this rich and smokey Slow Simmered Ham and Bean Soup. It's delicious and flavorful, and my family quickly devours it whenever I make it.
This soup is an economical dish, that I always make when I have leftover ham. It's easy to prepare once you have soaked the beans. You just saute some diced onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, add the soaked beans, broth, salt and pepper, and simmer it long and slow. You wind up with a thick and flavorful soup, that smells soooo good as it's cooking. Garnish with chopped green onion, and serve with cornbread muffins, and you have an unbelievably tasty and satisfying meal to enjoy.
Slow Simmered Ham and Bean Soup
2 cups dried white beans (Navy or Great Northern)
5 cups of water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups of vegetable stock
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 cup chopped leftover ham
Sort and rinse beans. Add 5 cups of cold water to dried beans in a medium sized bowl, and soak overnight, or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans.
Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat.
Place onion, carrot, and celery in pot, and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue sauteing for 60 seconds more.
Add drained beans, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a fast simmer, and cook for 3 - 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, and broth is thickened. (It may be nessasary to add a couple more cups of water, if the soup broth is cooking down to quickly)
30 minutes before end of cooking time, add the chopped ham and continue cooking 30 minutes more, uncovered.
Taste for seasonings and serve.
Serving suggestion: Garnish with chopped green onion, and serve with cornbread.
Serves 3 - 4
Notes: *If you don’t have time to soak the beans overnight, use the quick soak method. Sort and rinse the beans and place in a medium sized pot. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and cover. Let stand for one hour, drain and rinse.
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