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Old-Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup

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Let’s talk about a favorite no-fail dish, Old-Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup. It’s both rich and cozy, with its mix of beans and smoked ham. It’s perfect for using up holiday ham leftovers. This recipe lets you pick your favorite beans, from navy to cannellini, to make it your way.

You can cook it in a Dutch oven or a slow cooker. You can even toss in some greens for extra flavor and nutrition. It’s not just tasty; it also makes for easy meals ahead or freezes well for later.

Ingredients List & How To Make It (Step by Step)

Your journey to making a comforting ham bone soup recipe starts with proper bean preparation. Quick-soak your navy beans, giving them a head start on the cooking process. For perfect results, you’ll first need to sauté vegetables like onions and celery until they’re just crisp-tender.

  • Navy Beans (quick-soak method)
  • Onions (chopped finely)
  • Celery (sliced thin)

Next, place your smoked ham hocks into your cooking pot, along with fresh carrots, bay leaves, thyme, and a pinch of pepper. Submerge these ingredients in water, ensuring the flavors meld beautifully through simmering. This gentle cooking technique releases the rich, savory taste of the ham bone.

  • Smoked Ham Hocks
  • Carrots (diced)
  • Bay Leaves and Thyme
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

Continue to cook until the beans have softened to your liking. Once achieved, carefully extract and cube the ham, discarding bones and bay leaves. Reintroduce the cubed ham back into the soup, ensuring every bite is bursting with flavor.

If you prefer the convenience of a slow cooker, you can effortlessly prepare this dish by combining the sautéed onions and celery with dried beans and spices. Simply omit the bean pre-soak step. Add water and smoked ham, letting the beans tenderize naturally in the slow cooker. Once done, follow up by adding the cubed ham pieces and season with a touch of salt for final taste adjustments.

Experimenting with bean preparation methods and sauté vegetables before simmering in this classic ham bone soup recipe not only enhances the flavor but creates a truly comforting meal.

Tips & Tricks

Making your Old-Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup better is easy. Try these simple tips and tricks. For a quick thickening soup trick, mash up some canned beans. This keeps the soup tasty and full.

Change up your soup by trying different bean types. Use pinto beans, white beans, or a 15-bean mix for a new flavor. Every type adds its own tasty twist to the soup.

Don’t have ham hocks? A big ham bone works well. It might also mean you don’t need extra ham. This makes cooking simpler and the soup stays yummy.

Add some chopped kale or Swiss chard to your soup at the end. They will cook right in and add healthy vitamins. This keeps your soup tasting great every time.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy Old-Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup more by adding tasty sides. Try fresh, sweet homemade cornbread. It’s perfect with the soup’s bold flavors.

There are many ways to serve this warm dish. Mix the cornbread and soup in a bowl or have them separate. Either way, it’s a great comfort meal.

Adding corn chips instead of cornbread brings a fun twist. It’s like enjoying chili at the State Fair.

Add things like chopped onions and jalapeno sauce for more taste. This makes the soup even better, keeping it interesting with every bite.

How to Store

Keeping Your Old-Fashioned Ham and Bean Soup fresh lets you enjoy its rich taste longer. Put it in the fridge in a sealed container for five days. This keeps it safe to eat and seals in its comforting taste.

Want to keep the soup for more than five days? Then, freezing is your best bet. This soup stays great in the freezer for up to three months. First, let it cool down. Then, put it in airtight containers or strong freezer bags. This stops the soup from getting freezer burn and saves its flavor.

Ready to eat your frozen soup? First, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Then, heat it up slowly on the stove. Stir it now and then. This brings back its wonderful smell and taste. Also, keep the ham bone for more great meals. This saves food and gives you a yummy meal anytime.

jenny happy muncher
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.