Reading this piece will show you how to make the perfect Ham and Bean Recipe. The greatest way to use up leftover ham is with this recipe for ham and beans.
Diced ham, veggies, and seasonings combine with creamy white beans to create a straightforward yet incredibly tasty dish that is sure to win over crowds.
A tasty dish of classic southern comfort food, ham, and beans is loaded with fragrant cooked white beans in a rich ham broth.
Ingredients for Ham and Bean Recipe
Here’s a brief rundown of what you’ll need to make the greatest ham and beans recipe ever. As always, the printed recipe box at the foot of the post has precise measurements and detailed cooking directions.
- Finished Great Northern beans: refer to my instructions above regarding quick soaking, or remember to soak them overnight before using them in this recipe.
- Use cold water as both a cooking liquid and a soaker for the beans.
- Olive oil: for frying the vegetables.
- Garlic, onion, and celery are aromatics that enhance the taste of the food. Green pepper would be fantastic as well.
- If you have homemade chicken broth, use that; if not, get a low-sodium kind at the supermarket.
- The flavor of smoked ham hock is rich, salty, and smoky. The average weight of a ham hock is between 10 and 12 ounces, but this isn’t precise.
- Dried bay leaf: adds a flavor of earthiness and slow cooking to the stew.
- Fresh thyme: Although we personally prefer using fresh herbs, you may use ½ teaspoon of dried thyme in a pinch.
- Ham: to give the bean pot a deeper, meatier flavor. Use ham that’s left over from a previous meal (like Easter or Christmas), buy ham that has been diced or cubed from the meat department at the grocery store, or buy a ham steak and chop it yourself.
- Ground black pepper and kosher salt will accentuate the other flavors in the meal. If you salt the beans too soon, they will take longer to soften. Instead, add the salt later in the cooking process.
How to Make Ham and Beans
Traditional ham and beans can be made in a slow cooker or, as demonstrated here, in a Dutch oven on top of the stove. Here’s the short version:
- Let the beans soak all night.
- Heat a large Dutch oven and sauté the vegetables.
- Fill the saucepan with the beans, ham hock, broth, water, and herbs.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the beans are soft, stirring occasionally to incorporate the diced ham.
- To thicken the broth, mash part of the beans.
Do You Have to Soak Beans for Ham and Beans?
Though not required, soaking the dried beans for the entire night is strongly advised. The amount of time needed to cook the beans is greatly decreased by soaking them.
After soaking, the cooked beans have the nicest texture with fewer split and burst pieces. The beans can be rinsed, put in a big saucepan, covered with cold water, and heated to a boil over high heat if you don’t have time to soak them first.
For five minutes, boil the beans without cover. After taking the saucepan off of the burner, leave the beans soaking in the hot water for an hour. After rinsing the beans under cold water and draining them in a colander, continue with the procedure.
Are Great Northern Beans the Same as Navy Beans?
These two varieties of beans are not the same, despite their similarities. Larger than navy beans but smaller than cannellini beans, Great Northern beans are medium-sized beans.
Firm meat and a mellow, nutty flavor characterize Great Northerns. These beans, which are frequently used in soups and stews, absorb the deep, smokey tastes of the other ingredients in the pot and keep their shape better than navy beans.
How to Thicken Ham and Beans Recipe
To make the beans thicker, there are several methods. First, simmer with half of the lid off, or take it off completely. By doing this, more liquid will be able to evaporate, thickening the soup.
Additionally, you can use an immersion blender to puree some of the beans or use the back of a spoon to crush some of the beans. The broth will be beautifully thickened by the mashed beans and veggies.
Lastly, prepare the beans ahead of time if possible. As the flavors meld as they rest, they simply get better. As it cools, the liquid will likewise get thicker.
Can Ham and Bean Soup Be Frozen?
Before serving, let the soup come to room temperature for 12 hours in the fridge, then reheat it in a pan over the stove.