Got a leftover ham bone, but you're not sure what to do with it? Don't throw it away - use it to make an amazing pot of bean soup from scratch. The beans are so creamy and the broth is so full of flavor, it's hard not to have seconds. If you've never made ham stock, have no fear - it's easy. Using dried beans, you can have a big pot of this amazing soup ready to go in about 3 hours. Let me walk you through the process.
Step 1 - make the ham stock (recipe amounts below). Start by placing a leftover ham bone in a stockpot and cover with water. Add onion (skin and all), garlic, dried parsley, and bay leaves.
Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 60-90 minutes. In the meantime, pre-soak the beans.
Sort and rinse 1 pound of dried beans. Place them in a soup pot large enough to cover with 2 inches of water. I used a mixture of pinto and navy beans. Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. Don't add any salt or other seasoning at this point.
The beans will begin to float shortly before the water starts to boil
When the water begins to boil, turn the heat off, cover and let the beans soak for an hour.
This is what the beans look like after soaking for an hour. They've plumped up a bit and are beginning to soften, but they aren't soft enough to eat yet. Discard all the cooking liquid and reserve the beans for the next step.
Now is the time to saute onions and carrots in a little olive oil until they soften and begin to caramelize.
Add 8 cups of the ham stock, half of the remaining dried parsley, bay, black pepper, and thyme (no salt yet). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a gentle roll an cook for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft and creamy. Add the remaining parsley and diced ham. Taste carefully and season with salt if necessary. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the ham is heated through. Enjoy!
ButterYum's Ham and Bean Soup
- Ham Bone
- 10-12 cups cold water
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (onion trimmings and skin too)
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed (just give them a good whack to make them split open)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 pound dried beans - pre-soaked overnight, or quick-soaked as directed below
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 8 cups ham stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley, divided
- 3 cups leftover ham, diced into bite-size pieces (about 1 pound)
- salt to taste (don't add until serving)
- Place ham bone in and cover with 10-12 cups of cold water.
- Add the onions, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes.
- Rinse dried beans in cold water, removing any icky looking beans, stems, small stones, etc.
- Place the beans in a pot large enough so they can be covered with 2 inches of cold water.
- Bring to a boil, turn off heat, cover, let beans soak for 1 hour, drain. The beans should have swelled quite a bit and should be softening, although they shouldn't be soft enough to eat yet.
- In a 6-quart a or larger soup pot, saute the onions and carrots in 1 tablespoons of oil until they soften and begin to caramelize.
- Add the beans, 8 cups of ham stock, bay leaf, thyme, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of dried parsley.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a gentle roll and cook for 1-2 hours or until the beans are soft and creamy.
- Add leftover ham and remaining dried parsley (1 tablespoon); heat cook for a few minutes more until the ham is heated through.
- Taste carefully and season with salt and pepper.
Note - 1 pound of dried beans equals about 3-4 cans of rinsed and drained beans. Leftover ham stock can be frozen for future use, or you can use it to cook dried beans which can also be frozen for future use.