White Bean & Ham Soup

Monday 16 March 2020

A few weeks ago I spied a particularly delicious looking White Bean and Ham Soup on Simply Recipes.  
If you are looking for mealtime inspiration and simple recipes it is a brilliant resource to draw from!

I decided to make it yesterday as I had all of the ingredients here in the house for the most part.  I did not have any herbs de province, or Italian seasoning that wasn't a garlic Italian seasoning. 

 I also did not want to make a full recipe as there are only two of us and we can only eat so much.

I cut the recipe in half and created my own herb mixture for the soup, drawing on inspiration from what my mother used to use when she made her delicious home-made soups. 

My mother made the absolute best home-made soups. From scratch. We all loved them.

Normally she would have used summer savoury, but I used a mix of herbs.  Dried basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage and then I added some fennel seed. 

I so love using a wide variety herbs in cooking.

These flavours worked wonderfully.  But, lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Dried beans are an excellent ingredient to have in your store cupboard.  I always have a variety of them on hand.  Cannellini, kidney, black, haricot, borlotti, chick peas.  
If you keep several varieties you will never be sorry.  They come in very handy for making soups and stews and are an excellent source of protein.

I also keep a variety of dried peas and lentils.  Another protein enriched store cupboard ingredient, that you will find come in very handy.

I always like to pick through my beans and wash them. Sometimes there can be little stones in them, or them can be a bit dirty.  Better safe than sorry. 
You can cover them in cold water and leave them to soak on the counter overnight as my mother did. This requires forethought however. 
I find it just as simple to bring them to the boil in water and then set them aside for several hours to soak. 

While the beans are soaking you make a simple ham stock using a smoked ham hock and cold water.  
I put them into a large pot and added the dry herbs and bay leaf before bringing it to a boil and then letting the whole lot simmer for about an hour.

You will want to break your bay leaf in half.  This bruises it (even though it is dry) and releases its flavour. Trust me on this.

After an hour you can add your dried beans and the vegetables.  They sauteed the onions and garlic in some oil prior to using, but this really isn't necessary in my opinion and only dirties another pot. 
 You have two dirty already, why fuss with another! (Yes I really am that lazy!)

Simmered for another 45 minutes to an hour and you have a beautiful soup the whole family will enjoy!

Don't forget to fish out and discard the bay leaf.   Season to taste with salt, pepper and a few splashes hot hot sauce.

I used the red tabasco.  I think Sriacha would also work, but bear in mind it will amp up the garlic flavour.

This was gorgeous ladled into heated bowls and served hot with some crusty bread. It went down a real treat and we had enough leftover for another day!

Bean & Ham Soup

Bean & Ham Soup

Yield: 4
This is a fabulously tasty soup.  Simple and delicious. Adapted from a recipe I discovered on Simply Recipes. Do plan ahead as the beans need to soak for two hours.


  • 1 meaty smoked ham hock
  • 1 litre of cold water (1 Quart)
  • 225g dried white beans,  Cannellini or Great Northern (1/2 pound)
  • 1/4 tsp each dried oregano, sage, basil, thyme, marjoram and fennel seed
  • 1 broken bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 ribs of celery, washed trimmed and chopped (I like to include some of the leaves)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and minced (remove any green and discard first)
  • hot sauce to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • parsley to garnish


How to cook Bean & Ham Soup

  1. Pick through the beans discarding any shriveled or discoloured ones.  Rinse in water and then place them in a saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside to soak for 2 hours.
  2. While the beans are soaking make the ham broth.  Put the ham hock into a large saucepan along with the cold water. Add all of the herbs, including the bay leaf, and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, and simmer partially covered for 1 hour.
  3. Drain the beans, discarding the water.  Add to the ham hock along with all of the vegetables.  Cook for a further 45 minutes to an hour, or until all of the vegetables are soft and the beans are cooked.  Remove the ham hock.  Remove any meat from the bone, cutting it into manageable pieces and then return it to the pot discarding the bone.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Heat through then ladle into hot bowls and serve garnished wih some parsley if desired.

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  1. Rick always loves it when we have ham so he can make soup with the bone. This one looks great!

    1. Thanks Jeanie. how wonderful that you have a husband who cooks! xoxo

  2. Made this soup today and it was enjoyed by all! xo

    1. Hi sis, happy it was enjoyed! Love you! xoxo

  3. Made this soup last night and it was amazing. Added swiss chard for extra veg.

    1. Wonderful addition Dagmar! Sounds lucious! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo

  4. Didn’t really like it. It was flavorless.

    1. Sorry this was your experience. Without knowing exactly what you did I can’t comment on why you would find it flavourless. Others who have made it have said the opposite and indeed I find it filled with fabulous flavours.

  5. We love ham and beans. My favorite bean to use for this is a Navy pea bean. They are smaller than the Great Northern and, in my opinion, not only taste better but have a better texture. I soak mine overnight, then drain the water and rinse. Seems to cut down on the gassiness effect. otherwise, pretty much the same recipe. Of course, being from the south, we like to have cornbread with ours and usually fried potatoes and onions. Much love - Raquel XO

    1. Oh my that does sound delicious Raquel! xo

  6. Oh, that does sound good Becky! Thanks for the idea! xoxo

  7. I’m making this now! I’m using canned beans. I have no dry beans.


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