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Recipe: Bean Soup

January 5, 2012

Just like mom used to make!

One of the best things about the menu for New Year’s Day at our house was: Ham. I love baking a nice ham just for the ham bone, because it means that I won’t have to wait long to savor bean soup.

Another bonus in writing this blog is that I will have a neatly typed copy of my mom’s bean soup recipe. I can retire the two pieces of scrap paper that have amazingly stuck together in my recipe box for 20 years.

Bean Soup

  • 1 1/2 cups of dried great northern beans (rinsed, sorted, and soaked for 16 hours)
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. mashed potatoes
  • 1 c. shredded carrot
  • 1 c.  finely chopped celery
  • 2 c.   finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves mince garlic
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 1/2 diced ham


After soaking the beans, discard the soaking water. Now bring the beans, water, soda, salt, and ham bone to a gentle boil until the beans are almost done – about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham bone and take off any meat. Add the meat and the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer away until the beans are done, about 45 more minutes.

Remove the ham hock and the bay leaf and serve. In our family though, we leave the bay leaf in the soup and the lucky person who gets it in their bowl gets to do the dishes. 🙂

When I forget to soak my beans – which sometimes happens, I substitute  two cans of beans that have been rinsed. I cook the ham bone with the salt for about an hour to flavor the broth and then add the remaining ingredients except the beans. Cook for about 30 minutes then add the canned beans and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes.

Enjoy with a splash of Tabasco sauce and some crackers – or even better a warm, crusty baguette.  Mmmmmm


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