This is one of the first soups I ever made for my husband, and it remains an absolute favorite of both of ours.
Jeff smokes a ham a few times a year (usually when on sale around Easter and Christmas), but prior to dating me, he used to give the ham bone away to friends. Not anymore. I’ve taught Jeff the value of converting a well-smoked ham bone into a delicious, healthy and hearty soup. We both like to joke that this wonderful dish is often the only reason we even bother to cook ham.
This is an excellent frugal way to stretch that leftover holiday ham into another full meal. Immediately upon carving and serving our ham, Jeff stashes the bone and a pound of meat into a ziplock for us to freeze and save for soup. If you don’t have a ham bone, a smoked ham hock from the grocery store will suffice. If you don’t have any leftover ham, buy a large ham steak from the store.
This dish is easy to throw together before work so that you and your family come home to a delicious warm dinner in the evening.
- 1 package 15 or 16 bean soup mix
- 1 lb. lean ham, with all visible fat trimmed
- 1 ham bone or ham hock
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 15 oz. can diced or stewed tomatoes
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 6-8 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place beans in slowcooker, cover with water. Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours. After soaking, drain excess water.
- Wedge the ham bone or ham hock into a bed of beans.
- Add onion, tomatoes, chili powder, red pepper flakes, lemon and garlic.
- Cover everything with the 6-8 cups of water. Six if you like it as ham and bean stew, eight if you want it to be soup.
- Slowcook on low setting for 6-8 hours.
- Add the ham and the seasoning packet, then cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove the ham bone or ham hock prior to serving.
- Add salt and pepper or Louisiana Hot Sauce if needed (I usually let each person do this to their own bowl).