With its generous chunks of carrots, celery, loads of navy beans and cubed ham, this White Bean and Smoked Ham Soup is as hearty and nutritious as can be! The perfect way to warm you up on a chilly day, or to use up your leftover ham!
It’s an almost inevitable reality… in the days immediately following Easter, we get to eat so much leftover ham that we can sometimes run out out imagination as to what to do with it. Seriously… The struggle is real! What do you do when you find yourself pretty much drowning under all that leftover ham? There’s always the classic Ham and Cheese Sandwich or even Fritattas or omelettes.
Or, you could turn them into a mind blowing, soul warming, super filling and nourishing White Bean and Smoked Ham Soup.
I’ll admit, this soup does take a little while to cook, but it won’t need you to attend to it so much, so really, it’s the perfect meal to whip up on a quiet Sunday afternoon… especially if it happens to be a rainy or chilly one. And in the end, the soup is probably just as easy to make as a sandwich; except it’s SO much better!
Oh, and erm, you don’t really HAVE to wait for Easter to make this soup… Smoked ham is equally good all through the year, if you ask me!
Your first course of action will be to heat a little bit of olive oil (or any other cooking fat that you may prefer) in a large stock pot set over medium heat; then add a chopped onion and a few minced garlic cloves, some salt and pepper and cook that until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Be careful with the salt here, don’t go overboard: it’s ham we’re dealing with, and ham is already pretty salted as it is. Better add more at the end if you need to!
That holds especially true if you are going to do like I did and use leftover ham cooking juices as a broth for you soup! If you happened to make my Slow Cooker Maple and Beer Smoked Ham, I strongly recommend that you do the same! That stuff has so much flavor, it’s the perfect foundation for this hearty soup! It is extremely potent, however, so you will need to dilute it with plenty of water. I used a ratio of 2 cups of ham cooking juices to 6 cups of water, but feel free to tweak this to suit your own personal taste.
And if you didn’t have any of those delicious cooking juices on hand, you could always go ahead and use bone broth instead, only you’d definitely have to adjust that broth to water ratio, as bone broth isn’t nearly as intense in flavor as the ham juices are. Again, adjust that ratio to please your palate; just make sure that you use a total of 8 cups of liquid.
Pour those 8 cups of liquid right into the pot and bring the the boil.
Now lower the heat, cover your pot loosely and simmer for 60 to 75 minutes, until the beans are cooked and tender.
Next, add the carrots and celery (feel free to add a little bit more water if you feel it’s necessary) and bring your soup back to a simmer.
Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Now throw in that cooked ham and stir well.
And you know, if you’re not a fan of ham, you could totally replace it with leftover cooked chicken, or even leave it out entirely…
Finally, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley and thyme.
Serve your beautiful soup without delay, while it’s piping hot!
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White Bean and Smoked Ham Soup
- 1-3/4 cups dry navy beans soaked overnight and drained
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cups ham cooking juices (or bone broth*)
- 6 cups water (plus more if necessary)
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 large carrots diced
- 3 cups leftover cooked ham
- 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot set over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes
- Pour in ham cooking juices (or bone broth) and water, bring the the boil and then lower the heat, cover loosely and simmer for 60 to 75 minutes, until the beans are tender.
- Add the carrots and celery (add a bit more water if necessary) bring back to a simmer and continue cooking until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Throw in the cooked ham and stir well.
- Remove from heat and stir in the parsley and thyme; serve without delay.
*If using bone broth, you might want to use a higher ratio of broth to water as it won't be quite as intense in flavor as the ham cooking juices. Just be sure to use a total of 8 cups and go with a ratio that gives you a satisfying flavor.