Bean soup is one of the most underrated soups out there, but when it’s done right and made with love, you can’t beat it. This traditional ham and bean soup recipe is made from leftover holiday ham and holiday cooking ingredients, a few seasonings (like Dan-O’s Seasoning!), and a bag of dried great northern beans. You might have most of the ingredients already!
I like to make stock. You’ll see a lot of bean soup recipes where folks are putting ham hocks or a big ham bone in their soup, but that’s not always the best way. You can end up with a lot more fat and grizzle in your soup, and you’ll get the most flavor from stock. So anytime I get a ham, I leave some meat on the bone and toss it in with water, fresh herbs, onion, celery, garlic, and carrots and make some stock. I feel better about myself when I can skim off the excess fat, too.
You CAN use CANNED beans in this recipe, but let me tell you why you shouldn’t. Canned beans are already full of water and salt and it’s very hard for them to absorb flavor. You’ll save money with dried beans, and they’ll be better! When I soak my beans, I add garlic, bay leaves, a little salt, and some Spicy Dan-O’s Seasoning in the water as they soak overnight.
Some people put veggies in their bean soup, like carrots and celery. Not this guy. Just onions, garlic, and some finely minced jalapeno (you won’t even know it’s there) for me. Also, I am not very good at making a roux lol. So just watch some videos… but this should be a part of your soup if you want it to be creamier.
And there you have the perfect traditional ham and bean soup. 1 protein-packed bowl of it is like a warm hug on a cold day. Serve with a side of cornbread. Enjoy!
- 20 oz dried great northern white beans
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 medium onions
- 2 whole carrots
- 2 ribs of celery with the leaves
- 1 ham bone with some meat attached
- 2 cups cooked ham
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tbs Dan-O’s Seasoning
- ¼ stick of butter
- 2 tbs flour
- Make your stock by adding ham bone, a few big chunks of ham, one full onion, 3 smashed cloves of garlic, a couple of carrots, 2 bay leaves, and 2 ribs of celery to a pot. Add other fresh herbs if available. Fill with water until covering most of the ham bone. Bring pot to a boil for about 10 minutes, then bring down to a simmer. Let simmer and reduce a medium-low heat for 3-4 hours skimming off surface fat as needed.
- Carefully strain the stock into a bowl removing all of the solid pieces and set stock in the refrigerator.
- Lay out your beans on a baking sheet and check them for rocks and discolored pieces. Rinse beans and add to pot with 2 smashed cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tbs spicy Dan-O’s Seasoning. Add 2 cups of water per cup of beans, and leave to refrigerate for 6-12 hours.
- Remove beans from the refrigerator, strain, and rinse. Set to the side.
- Gently heat your stock if it has become gel-like (from the fridge) and skim off the white fat cap. Add in optional fresh veggies, a tbs or two of Dan-O’s. Ideally, you should have about 8 cups of stock. If you have less than 8, use water or chicken stock for the rest.
- Add your beans to the stock and mix well. Bring to a low boil for about 30 minutes, then bring down to a simmer on medium-low heat. Allow to cook for another hour.
- Finely chop 1 whole onion, one deseeded jalapeno, and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Saute in a medium-heated pan until they soften up. Add this onion, jalapeno, and garlic to your beans.
- Chop up your 2 cups of ham (if you haven’t already), and add to the mix. Turn heat down to low, and add about half a cup to a full cup of water if needed. Let cook for another hour.
- Whip up a quick roux by heating a quarter stick of butter in a pan, and whisking in 2 tbs of flour. Do not let roux burn or brown. Add roux to the soup mix and stir in.
- Allow soup to cook on low heat for another 30 mins with the roux to an hour until beans reach your desired consistency. Salt, pepper, and Dan-O’s to taste.
- Let cool down to eating temp and serve with cornbread. Refrigerate any leftovers!