Ham and Beans and More

Ham and bean soup can be a little bland and requires a lot of salt to be palatable, but not so with this version. It is bursting with flavor.

Yield

8 servings

Ingredients

1 pound dried Great Northern beans, sorted and rinsed
4 cups water
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (bulb only), cut in half lengthwise
1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces
5 slices bacon
4 cups chicken stock
1 pinch sea salt to taste
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Place the beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain and rinse before using.

Combine the soaked beans, 4 cups of water, celery, onion, bay leaves, cumin, garlic powder, and parsley into a slow cooker.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the leeks in the butter mixture until tender and the smaller pieces start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the leeks to the slow cooker.

In the same pan, cook and stir the ham until the edges start to brown; stir into the soup. Place the bacon into the hot skillet, and pan-fry until the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces and stir into the soup. Pour the chicken stock into the hot skillet, and stir to dissolve any brown flavor bits from the skillet; pour the chicken stock into the soup. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Set the cooker to LOW. Cook the soup until the beans are very tender, 6 to 8 hours. Roughly mash about half the beans with a potato masher to thicken the soup.

Estimated Time

Soak Time: 8 hours
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours

Additional Information

Feel free to play with the seasoning amounts to fit your personal choice. Of course, it can be cooked on the stove top for a shorter period of time. You will find that the little extra effort of stir-frying the leeks, ham, and bacon brings a richness to this dish and is more than worth it.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 468; Total Fat: 22.6 g; Cholesterol: 50 mg; Sodium: 1514 mg; Total Carbs: 40.5 g (Dietary Fiber: 12.2 g); Protein: 26.1 g

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