Three Bean Soup with Ham
Inspiration:1) I froze the stock from our (nitrate/nitrite free) corned beef that we made at St. Patrick’s Day, and I was on the hunt for a nice soup to showcase it. 2) Brandon bought me this soup cookbook for my last birthday, and I had tried two different soups from it that turned out….well….just awful. One of them made enough to serve an army (two armies?) and became known as The Sludge in our house. As in, “Good grief, another day of The Sludge for lunch…” The other one had a slimy texture that was just….not pleasant. This book seriously needed to be redeemed! 3) Brandon always makes fun of me for this, but I love beans of any kind (definitely in my top ten favorite foods), and bean soups are my absolute favorite kind of soups. Why does Brandon make fun? When he first knew me, I was really unreasonable/obnoxious about how much I detested beans. Which led him to comment after we enjoyed this meal how cool it is how much people change and grow together. It is, isn’t it? :)
What we Loved: Perusing back over all of the soup recipes that I’ve posted, I’d put this one in my top three, up there with my pork hock and 15 bean soup and black bean and sausage soup (I told you, I really love bean soups!). It’s rich, salty, creamy, and chock full of vegetables and nutrients. I think there’s a reason that ham and beans are such a classic combo – that salty, savory ham flavor really complements the mild, creamy beans so well. And I just loved the three different kinds of beans that were used in this recipe, as I thought that you could really taste each one. Pinto beans always remind me of Mexican food since I eat them most often as refried beans, and then there are the mild navy beans and the richer red kidney beans. Paired with a deeply flavorful and rich stock, this is truly comfort food in a bowl. In fact, I already have it on the menu again for a second time.
Helpful Hints: Since I used leftover corned beef stock (heavily salted because I had cooked a corned beef in it) and since ham is pretty salty itself, I didn’t even need to add any additional salt to this soup. This might be completely different for you, though, if you use a light- or no-salt stock. So I would suggest finishing the soup and then salting accordingly. My preference for this one is to make sure that it’s nice and salty!
Three Bean Soup with Ham
Source: Adapted from Williams Sonoma Soup cookbook
1 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried kidney beans
1 cup dried navy beans
Olive oil or butter
1 large onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups stock (I used a very flavorful and salty corned beef stock)
2 bay leaves
1 Parmesan rind
2 cups diced ham, more if desired
Kosher salt (if needed)
1. Place the three cups of beans in a pot, and cover with water. Soak for eight hours or overnight, then drain and rinse the beans.
2. In a large soup pot, heat some oil or butter and then add the onions. Cook until softened, then add the carrots and cook until just softened, a few minutes more.
3. Add the beans, garlic, diced tomatoes and juice, stock, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, and ham. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for one hour, or until the beans are softened.
4. Remove the bay leaves and the Parmesan rind. Blend about 1/3 or 1/2 of the soup (or as much/little as you’d like) with an immersion blender or food processor.
5. Season to taste with black pepper, Kosher salt (if needed – mine needed no salt since my stock was very salty), and oregano.