Lightly seasoned and utterly delicious, Ham and Bean Soup and heartwarming and tummy-filling. It’s comfort food at its best.
There’s a robin sitting on the branch outside my office window right now. He’s arrived in my front yard with a host of friends. They’re flitting about, trying to find the perfect spot in the grass to snag any worms that might been lurking in the soil.
Their presence is a bit deceiving. Sure, it’s been warmer here; I didn’t need my jacket on when I went outside yesterday. While it will get up to 65 today, it was only 38 when I took Sophie to school this morning.
North Carolina’s celebrating its second day of sun after a long stretch of rain that kept us dark and dismal for days on end. You know what I’m talking about, right? Welcome to winter.
That’s where this soup came in. Cold weather always makes me want comfort food like this and the feeling doesn’t go away until I’ve made a big ole pot for the family to enjoy.
Since this soup is easy to throw together, it’s a perfect last minute meal. If you don’t have a ham bone or leftover ham, picking up both at the grocery store is convenient and inexpensive. Ham steaks work perfectly.
I keep a selection of dried beans on hand in my pantry, which is why I went through the process of rehydrating them, but if you have the canned variety instead, simply drain and rinse two cans of great northern beans, then continue with the next step.
After my beans were done soaking, I added everything except the cut up ham and let the soup simmer for 40 minutes. This gave the flavors a chance to meld and broke down the beans even more, which in turn thickened the soup perfectly.
The final step was to add the chopped ham, simmer the soup until the meat heated, and season it to taste.
Hello comfort food. No, the flavors aren’t complex, but they’re not supposed to be. This dish is all about hearty, tummy-warming goodness. I’ve taken it to work and had it for lunch because it’s filling without putting me to sleep. It warmed me up during that cold snap when our temps had the audacity to dip into single digits. It’s that kind of comfort food.
Ham and Bean Soup Recipe
- 1 pound dry great Northern beans
- 8 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ham bone
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups cooked ham, chopped
- After sorting and discarding any discolored beans, rinse and drain them.
- Bring the water to boil in a large Dutch oven. Add the beans and salt. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 60 minutes.
- After soaking, return the pot to high heat. Add the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaves to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes.
- Remove the ham bone and discard. Add the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes, or until heated through.
- Season to taste.