Slow cooked all day with nearly zero prep, this soup is smoky and creamy and hearty and delicious.
Rather than being sparkly and trendy and gourmet, this changed-up ham and bean soup is more on the homey, comforting side of the spectrum.
And while I love to get crazy in the kitchen sometimes, days that include low-ish coping skills and hectic schedules have me claiming homey and comforting without thinking twice.
A thoroughly wonderful way to use up ham leftovers (no ham leftovers? no worries; ask your deli to thick-slice ham for you), this is exactly the kind of soup I need to stick to my bones and keep me forging through this terribly long winter currently upon me.
Sidenote: The high for my piece of earth yesterday was -3 and today it’s only 0 which is actually warm considering the arctic freeze of the last month, plus my entire family, including me and minus Brian who is currently golfing in California (lucky dog), has head colds and I just want to crawl under my covers and sleep the winter away.
Except I have children and a life (kind of) and that isn’t really feasible, especially since I’m on Freddie feeding duty right now and what I’d really love is for Freddie to find a way to feed himself and also park about 20 pounds of dark chocolate on my doorstep.
Is that really too much to ask?
Ok, I’m done. Make this soup.
It’s the epitome of warm, winter comfort food (and not too bad for you) and I’m pretty sure it will heal all your trivial sorrows.
If you want to up the smoky flavor of this delicious soup, sub in smoked paprika for the regular. I've made this soup twice and the dry beans cooked perfectly tender without being presoaked, however, several people commented in this recipe that their beans weren't quite tender (especially those that live at high altitude) after slow cooking all day, so if that concerns you, soak the beans in cool water overnight before using in the recipe. A recipe like this yields the perfect style of ham for this recipe; however, if you don't have any leftover ham, your neighborhood deli is a great place to buy - have them slice the ham thick so the dices of ham are chunky rather than thin. PS: this cooked and cooled soup freezes magnificently.
- 1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 2 cups cooked, diced ham (see note)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 pound dry white beans, like Great Northern, rinsed (see note)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (see note)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4-6 slices bacon or turkey bacon, diced
- Combine all the ingredients except the bacon in a 5-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours (see the note about presoaking the dry beans).
- Carefully puree 1/2 to 3/4 of the soup in a blender (hot soups like to expand in the blender so only fill the blender halfway and process in batches, if needed). I don't love the idea of pureeing ham, call me crazy, so I tried my best to scoop out ladles of soup to blend that were free of ham. Alternately, you could use an immersion blender and get in there with it and go to town (leaving the soup with as much texture as you desire).
- Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
- Cook the bacon in a hot skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels. Serve the soup with crumbled bacon on top.
Recipe Source: adapted from Everyday Reading, inspired from Our Best Bites