Bean Soup with Ham and Lots of Veggies

Do you celebrate the holidays with a spiral-cut ham? This post is for you! 

I brought home a delicious spiral-cut ham a few weeks ago. It was huge – much bigger than was needed for three people – and we ended up feasting on ham for the better part of a week. My parents then went out of town, and I set out to make one of my mom’s favorite things using spiral-cut ham… soup.

As you may know from reading this blog, I’m not the sort that follows a recipe blindly. And that worked out well, because my mom didn’t leave me a recipe. So I ended up looking over a bunch of recipes, and then made a soup that was inspired by one of them, but with my own special additions.

First things first: I used this recipe, from The Spruce Eats, as the foundation of my soup. My changes began with step one, as their recipe calls for navy beans, but I used great northern beans.

I started with one pound of dry great northern beans, rinsed them, and picked through them quickly and pulled out some bad ones. I soaked them, which basically involved bringing them to a boil and then letting them soak off the heat for a couple hours.

While they were soaking, I did the most time-intensive part of this soup-making process: cutting the remaining ham off the bone, cutting away the big pieces of fat, and cubing the rest. I ended up with a nice pile of ham!

After the beans were soaked, I added the ham bone, and cooked it with the beans for 90 minutes. The remaining meat pretty much fell off the bone at this point, and after removing the bone, I spent a few minutes picking out undesirable parts, like gristle and fat, from the broth – things that I wouldn’t want to eat.

Now I had a bean soup with a ham broth. Time to add other ingredients! my inspiration recipe called for adding carrots, onion, and celery, but I added other vegetables too.

The container in the upper left is a store-bought mixture of chopped carrots, onion, and celery, which satisfies my inspiration recipe’s suggestions, but I also added half a bag of frozen riced cauliflower, a few handfuls of baby spinach, and two parsnips, which I peeled and chopped into tiny cubes.

I remember my mom saying that she added tomato juice to her ham and bean soup, and we had a six-ounce can in the pantry, so I added that, too.

I also added all the cubed ham, plus a couple bay leaves, salt and pepper (all of which were recommended in the inspiration recipe).

Then I cooked it for another hour, and voila! SOUP!

It was super flavorful and hearty, just like a good soup should be. I loved the variety of textures from all the different vegetables, too.

I made a huge vat of soup, so between the ham slices, and the soup that was made from the bone, that one ham provided over a week of lean-protein-based meals!

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. I’m spending Christmas in northern California with family, and having a great time.

Keep it up, David!

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