This hearty ham and bean soup recipe, filled with diced carrots, celery, and potatoes, is the perfect way to use up leftover ham… SO delicious on a cold day!
As I’m writing this, it’s currently thunder storming outside after a balmy 70-degree day. Never mind that it’s December 23rd and this is Ohio…
It’s safe to say that a white Christmas is NOT in the forecast, but we’ll make the most of the next couple of days. Christmas Eve will be filled with our many traditions, including baking vanilla pizzelle and chocolate pizzelle as a family and watching A Christmas Story on repeat during our sibling gift exchange. Because we’re going to my Dad’s house on Christmas Day, I’ll also be making our Christmas dinner — pork roast with green beans and gnocchi, this mashed potato recipe with cream cheese, and sour cream cucumber salad. Mmm, I can’t wait!
I know a lot of you will be making ham (and if you are, you TOTALLY need to try this Instant Pot ham recipe!), though, so I wanted to share my favorite recipe for using up leftover ham! I actually made both a turkey breast and a ham for Thanksgiving this year, and I saved the leftover ham and ham bone in the freezer just for the purpose of making this ham and bean soup recipe. Leftover ham and the ham bone will keep in the freezer for up to two months, so this is a fantastic way to use them up even if you’re not in the mood for soup right away.
How to Make Ham and Bean Soup
Start by placing the ham bone in a large pot, along with the 8 cups of water. Simmer the ham bone for about 45 minutes, until it’s very fragrant. Then remove and discard the bone. I like to use my heavy duty Le Creuset Dutch oven for this purpose. They can be pretty pricey, but they literally last forever! Definitely an investment you’ll be glad you made…
In the meantime, you can start dicing up the onions, carrots, celery and potatoes. I prefer to sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic before putting them into the soup, so I also do that in a large skillet while the ham stock is simmering. Finally, add all of the remaining ingredients into the pot, including the leftover diced ham. Let it simmer for about 15 more minutes, and it’s ready to eat!
This rustic ham and bean soup is SO delicious on a cold winter day — or a warm one for that matter! I’m really wishing I had made more, because after my boys went back for seconds, there wasn’t much left. As with so many soups, I think it’s even better after sitting for a day.