How to Cook : Bean & Ham Soup

I told you I was going to tantalize you with pork recipes, and an ulterior motive of selling the hogs we’re taking to the butcher next Monday the 28th. So far it’s working, because we’ve sold 2 this week! So here’s another recipe to further tempt you.

Soup season is coming to an end, but I’m still craving it on these rainy April days. And yet these rainy April days are some of the busiest, with all of the spring animal babies, the yard work and gardening to be done, the kids’ overlapping sports (track, softball, volleyball, soccer), besides the day jobs and the normal work of keeping the household together. So there’s no time for the involved soups of winter. Bean & ham soup fits the bill perfectly!

You’ll need a one pound bag of dried beans. Pretty much any kind of beans will do. The bags with all different kinds of beans, usually called a “soup mix”, are nice. But our little local grocery store doesn’t always have those. In that case I just use northern or navy beans.

Put the beans in a colander and rinse them under cold water. Pick through them real quick and pick out anything that looks objectionable. Then dump them in the crockpot.

I use smoked ham hocks for this soup, but you could also use the leftover bone and meaty bits from Sunday’s ham dinner. Throw that in the crockpot with the beans.

Some bean soup mixes come with flavoring packets. You can sprinkle that over the ham & beans if you want. I didn’t notice when I bought them, but the beans I bought came with a Creole seasoning packet. That didn’t sound too great to me, so I ditched it. Instead I seasoned the soup with a tablespoon of salt, a teaspoon of granulated garlic, and a couple of bay leaves. If you’re watching your sodium intake, omit the salt entirely. The ham hock is salty enough.

Cover the whole mess with about 3 quarts of water. Cook in the crockpot on high 8 to 10 hours. Newer crockpots cook hot enough that 8 hours is sufficient. Older crockpots cook at a lower temperature and may need another hour or two to get the beans cooked through.

Before serving, remove the bay leaves and discard. Remove the ham hock, shred the meat from the bone, and add the meat back into the soup. Give it a good stir and it’s ready to eat!

So, hungry now? If you’re finally ready to put a half or whole hog in your freezer, just email themillers92 (at) osage (dot) net to get on the list for Monday!

Bean & Ham Soup
1 ham hock or leftover ham bone & meat
1 pound bag dried beans
1 T. salt (optional)
1 t. granulated garlic
2 bay leaves
3 quarts water

Rinse and pick through beans. Place in crockpot with ham hock and seasonings. Cover with 3 quarts water. Cook on high 8 to 10 hours.

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5 Responses to How to Cook : Bean & Ham Soup

  1. Mmm . . .yummy. Too bad it’s going to be 75 here today – have to save this for a rainy day.Kris

  2. bree says:

    Wait… whoah… what? I thought that cooking dried beans with salt made the skins tough! Have I been the victim of an old-wives-tale and could have been salting my beans from the beginning this whole time?ARGH!!

  3. Sea2Shore says:

    Sounds yummy! I would make a batch of cornbread to eat it with:)

  4. bree – I’ve never heard that particular wives tales about the salt. Then again, I didn’t grow up in a family that cooked beans. But I’ve never had a problem with tough skins.s2s – cornbread would be perfect with this soup! (Wish I would have thought of that yesterday!)

  5. bree says:

    Well shoot! I guess I’m going to have to give pre-salted beans a shot!THANKS!!