food · penny pinchin' · recipes · what's for dinner?

ham and bean soup

It seems we’ve been eating a lot of ham and a lot of chicken.  You know how it is…something goes on sale and you stock up.

We often have guests after church on Sundays, and I like to make something easy, something that doesn’t require much effort.  Ham is always a good go-to.  Plus, I had a few in the freezer from Christmas sales.  We like the bone-in half shank of ham.  It is flavourful, it’s good for several meals or a large crowd, plus you get to do something with that ham bone.  As such, we enjoyed a ham dinner with our company along with crockpot garlic potatoes (minus the parmesan), green beans sautéed in bacon fat with toasted pine nuts and coleslaw.  My df girl made a chocolate pudding cake for a happy ending to our meal.  Yum…

We ate leftovers for lunch one day and fried some to eat alongside our mac ’n’ cheese. A couple of weeks ago I made crockpot baked beans with my ham bone.  I confess we liked them so much I made more. (This ham had two sections of bone…bonus!)  A kind man from our church, a Texan, said the recipe sounded similar to his mother’s.  I made a double batch and sent some along to him to test.  The other half of my ham bone was used for soup–aptly named ham bone soup (I modified it slightly).  I remembered to save the juices from the bottom of my roaster when I cooked the ham.  I put it in the fridge and it was easy to skim the fat off.  I used a little of this in place of the some of the liquid in the recipe.  It’s very salty, so a little goes a long way.

Ham Bone Soup

Begin with preparing a few veggies.

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, mine were quite a good size so I used two, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-3 celery stalks, chopped ( I always add the leaves as well)

Sauté these in some olive oil (perhaps 2 tablespoons?) while you

  • mince 4 cloves of garlic.

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I wasn’t thinking…I put my ham bone in the pot with the ham juices along with my frozen pre-cooked beans.  Ideally, you will only use one pot.  Start with your veggies then add your ham bone and other ingredients.  The beans would have been better added a little later, as well.  Anyhooo…this meant I cooked my veggies in a different pot and added them to the other stuff.  Kinda backward.  Oh well.

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Here’s the recap, with the appropriate corrections, of course:

  • add ham bone to veggies
  • I also added about a cup of the ham juices and a cup of chopped leftover ham
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed

The recipe calls for eight cups of water, then add cabbage.  I added my cabbage first.

  • 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
  • add enough water to cover everything
  • drop in 1 bay leaf
  • bring to a boil (on high), then simmer (on low) for about 30-45 minutes, until vegetable are cooked
  • add 2 cups of prepared white beans (mine were pre-cooked and frozen)
  • add lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • continue to simmer for another 15 minutes
  • optional:  add a small bunch of trimmed, chopped kale (I used a couple of handsful of baby kale and spinach)
  • simmer until the kale is cooked, about 15 minutes  (mine was tender, baby kale, so it was only a minute or two)
  • test seasoning
  • remove bay leaf
  • remove ham bone, add bits of meat back to soup

You can add a splash of hot sauce or apple cider vinegar, if you’d like.

My df girl and I particularly enjoyed this hearty soup. My Love prefers a cream-based soup, but he ate it anyway.  The recipe made enough for dinner, accompanied by bakery rolls, and several servings to keep for another day, some in the fridge and some in the freezer.

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