Not so long ago my family had a delicious on the bone ham, which left us with tons of leftovers. I had to think of something to do with it all and I’d already worked the family ham spread recipe and hot and cold ham sandwiches. It just happened to be a rare cold spell with one of Southern California’s multiple personality weather moods – 60 at the end of May.
Soup seemed the perfect answer and I had a good and hearty one up my sleeves. An old classic of mine that requires a little planning – you have to soak dried beans for twenty four hours and then cook all day. Its a-maz-ing ham and bean soup with stick to your bones yummy goodness. Unfortunately, I needed something faster so I improvised and came up with a 35 to 40 minute version of my ham and bean soup. Just as good and a fraction of the time.
2 – 3 cups cubed ham
3 carrots sliced
3 stalks sliced celery
1 finely chopped onion
1 can of white beans
1 large can of pinto beans
4 cups of chicken broth or (ham broth if you can find it)
1 tablespoon of butter
ham bullion seasoning – 1 to 2 cups
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: ham bone
Putting It All Together:
1. Sautee onions over a medium heat in a large stock pot until mildly translucent. Keep stirring so they do not stick to the pot.
2. Add celery and butter to pot. Cook celery and onion until butter is cooked off. This locks in the flavor of both the sweet sautéed onion and the celery.
3. Pour in the chicken broth and add carrots and ham bullion. Make sure to use chicken broth (or ham if you can find it) as beef broth is too overpowering for the ham flavor. If you have the bone from the ham, add it to the stock pot. The marrow and ham flavors will cook off into the broth.
4. Add carrots and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally.
5. Add ham and beans and cook for 20 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and make sure to watch to prevent it from boiling over.
6. Serve immediately adding salt and pepper to taste or allow to simmer on low heat until you are ready to serve. Garnish with saltines and enjoy.
Though not my typical ham and bean soup but definitely just as yummy and just as big a hit with the rest of the family. Even better, leftovers get richer and more flavorful as they sit. (Make sure you remove the bone before putting leftovers away.)