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Ham Bone & Bean Soup

One of our favorite ways to get the most from our hams is to make a ham bone and bean soup once we have baked the ham.  I include all the bits of meat left on the bone and include some leftover ham as well.   If I can’t get to making soup right away, we freeze the ham bone until we can use it – it freezes just fine.

Ingredients:

  • Ham Bone and leftover ham
  • Water to cover the bone (about 8 cups in a suitable sized pot – too much water in too big of a pot will yield a diluted flavor but this depends on the size of your bone, also)
  • Carrots to taste
  • Great White Northern beans, soaked or canned.  If you intend to slow cook the soup for hours, you can use soaked and rinsed beans that have not yet been cooked.  If you want a quicker meal, use canned beans that have already been cooked.  I prefer 1-2 quarts of home canned beans because I like a hearty soup.
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • salt and pepper to taste, if necessary
  • Ketchup (a couple tablespoons, added at the end)

Method – Slow Cooking Method (using soaked but uncooked beans):

  1. Place the ham bone and all ingredients into the soup pot or crockpot EXCEPT the ketchup.
  2. Place a cover on the pot, bring to a brief boil, then simmer until beans are cooked, at least 4 hours.
  3. If using a crockpot, cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until beans are done.
  4. Add ketchup at the end.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Method – Quick Cooking (using cooked beans):

  1. Place ham bone, ham, water and beans in a pot.  Begin heating the pot to a brief boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer.
  2. Sautee onion and carrots in a skillet with olive oil until beginning to soften.  Add to the pot of soup.  Cooking the vegetables will reduce how long the soup has to cook.
  3. Replace cover after adding carrots and onions, and cook until vegetables are fully soft, soup is heated through and the soup has the right taste for you – this may be an hour or less.
  4. Add ketchup at the end.  Season with salt and pepper at the end, if necessary.
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