You’ve got a leftover ham bone, but not sure what to do with it? There is nothing much more classic then ham and white bean soup. Use up that holiday ham bone with this traditional soup.
On my “bucket list” of cooking stuff has been to start using dry beans. Not a really big thing but just something to start doing. This was a great recipe to start with. And if you’re on a budget it makes this soup extremely cheap considering you were going to toss that ham bone.
I combined about five recipes and methods so no inspiration piece. Most recipes use chicken broth all or part of the liquid. As pointed out to me by some previous commenters, cooking the ham bone like this is somewhat like making your own ham broth. No chicken broth needed.
Some of the recipes suggested 8 hour cooking times on low even with non-soaked beans. It took the full 10 hours with the overnight soaked beans to be the right consistency. Lastly, the amount of liquid varied from 6 cups to 12 cups. Many commenters thought the high end was just too much liquid. They, like me, want a thicker bean soup. I went with the low end of 6 cups. It did not completely cover the ham but was just right.
A nice solid four.
Why to Soak Dry Beans
About soaking dry beans. It was always done in the “good old days”. A nice overnight soak was always done. Also picking through the beans for pebbles and rocks was important. We frequent found them. You will find recipes that don’t soak. There is also a “rapid soak” method that involves bringing them to a boil for a few minutes then allowing to rest for an hour (Check Epicurious.com).
So does soaking the dry beans do anything? The no-soak crowd apparently think not. Tradition says less gas and more even cooking. Well, our friends at Cooks Illustrated in The Science of Good Cooking have done some testing and find that there is less gas. Let me explain. There are some simple carbohydrates in beans that humans can not digest. But your intestinal bacteria can which produce a lot of gas. Soaking decreases these carbohydrates some but the rapid method even more. But neither method comes anywhere close to eliminating them. Now don’t you feel smarter.
Notes on Salt:
Hambone (and hams) vary a lot. So this is like many recipes… guidelines and not rules. If yours is honey coated or spiced heavily you need to rinse as much of that off as possible. Salt note: Most hams have LOTS of salt. Don’t add any until you’re sure you need it.
A veggie note:
the carrot and celery are an option, but I thought made it more interesting.
To use precooked beans:
This recipe will be fine with precooked beans if you don’t want to go the dried bean route. The 1 pound of dry will equal approximately three cans or one 48 oz jar of precooked beans. You can drain the beans or decrease the water by 2 cups of you go this route. Please use low sodium.
Rinse 1 pound of navy or great northern dry beans. Pick through the beans for any stones or pebbles. Cover with water and allow to soak overnight. See notes if using precooked beans.
Under running water rinse any coating off a meaty ham bone. Also, scrap off any surface fat that you can. Add to a larger crock pot.
Dice 2 medium carrots, two stalks celery, and one medium onion. Carrot and celery are options but recommended.
Add the drained beans, carrots, celery and onion to the crock pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and one bay leaf. Add 6 cups water.
Cook on low for 10 hours total but at about 8 hours remove ham bone to a cutting board. Allow the bone to cool for 10-15 minutes. Then remove all meat from the bone. Discard bone and any fat and waste. Place meat back into the cooker and finish cooking. This is a good point to taste test for adding salt if needed.
April 22, 2017
Nutrition is always somewhat of a guess, but the fat here is so variable. This is my best guess.