Ham and Bean Soup for Your Crockpot

Ham and bean soup: it’s just about as simple as it can get and it takes such little time as this particularly version of ham and bean soup is cooked in a crockpot.   I love how the mildness of tender white beans complements the striking, sweet smokiness of a pastured ham hock in a beautiful and classic combination that has nourished the commonfolk across the United States for a good, long time.   I prefer to serve this classic ham and bean soup accompanied by collard greens gently sautéed in bacon fat with a cranberry masa muffin slathered in fresh butter on the side.

Simple food for simple folk, ham and bean soup is easy and inexpensive to prepare.   Indeed, it should be considered one of my 10 healthy meals under $10 as this recipe easily serves 6 for about $7.50 using heritage breed, meadow-raised ham and organic ingredients.   Not bad. As with most recipes I do insist on organic ingredients and properly raised meats for this ham and bean soup recipe.   You see, sourcing your ingredients properly and cleanly is better for the environment, your farmer, your health and the overall flavor of your dish.   Much like a real artisan cheese or homebaked bread, meadow-raised ham just tastes better.   Charming and subtle nuances of flavor are missing in its factory farmed cousins.

Choosing a crockpot or slowcooker to prepare this ham and bean soup makes feeding your family nourishing foods much more simple.   As a working mother, I understand the challenges mothers face in preparing nourishing meals for their families so we rely on our crockpot fairly heavily.   To me, the crockpot is the modern version of the old-fashioned cauldron that would sit on the hearth bubbling away as mothers, fathers and children worked the fields and cared for the animals in times gone by.

ham and bean soup for your crockpot

By Jenny Published: June 6, 2009

    it's just about as simple as it can get and it takes such little time as this particularly version of ham and bean soup is cooked in a crockpot.

    Ingredients

    • 1 Meadow-raised Ham Hock
    • 2 Cups Dry White Beans (I prefer cannellini)
    • 1 Tbsp Raw Cider Vinegar
    • 1 Strip of Kombu
    • 2 Bay Leaves
    • 5 Carrots (Peeled and Diced)
    • 5 Celery Stalks (Peeled and Diced)

    Instructions

    1. Soak the beans overnight with the raw cider vinegar. Remember, the addition of the vinegar creates an acidic environment that makes the beans more digestible. Moreover, it deactivates antinutrients naturally found in legumes and pulses and thusly renders the nutrients found in white beans more bioavailable.
    2. After the beans have soaked overnight or even as long as 24 hours, drain them and rinse them thoroughly.
    3. Add the beans, kombu, ham hock, celery, carrot and bay leaf to a crockpot and cover with fresh, filtered water.
    4. Cook on low for 24 hours or on high for 12 or so until the beans are fall-apart tender and the meat from the ham hock has fallen off the bone.
    5. Serve ham and bean soup with Cranberry Masa Muffins instead of cornbread and a big pile of sauteed greens with garlic.

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    What people are saying

    1. Jenny says

      Meaghann -

      Kombu is a sea vegetable that you can find,dried, in health food stores – usually in the Asian foods section.  It offers a good chunk of minerals and is thought to help you  better digest beans.  If you can’t find kombu, it’s perfectly fine to omit it from the recipe for ham and bean soup.

       – Jenny

    2. Wramblin' Wreck says

      I am a new reader, especially interested in fresh, slow-cooked foods. Slow cooking has become a way of life due to a disability.

      Two comments on this recipe:
      1) In my opinion an onion would be a welcome addition to the recipe (and maybe a clove or two of garlic.)
      2) Again in my opinion, I would add a little thickener, flour or arrowroot starch. No a lot, just enough to ensure the soup will coat the back of the spoon.

      Acidifying the bean soaking liquid is good to know. Thanks for the tip. I will definitely use it for soaking beans.

      Thanks for the interesting, well designed web site. I plan to visit here often. I am always interested in discussing slow-cooked foods and even sharing slow-cook recipes.

      Wramblin’ Wreck

    3. Alissa says

      You recommend adding apple cider vinegar to the white beans. I’m new to this idea of deactivating anti-nutrients, so I want to make sure I understand. In this article about that subject, at the bottom is a chart on what to do with what types of beans. It recommends adding vinegar, lemon juice or whey to fava, lentils or black beans. But for white, kidney or brown beans it just says use plain, soft water. Can you explain why you recommend the vinegar in the white beans as well?

      http://www.westonaprice.org/Putting-the-Polish-on-Those-Humble-Beans.html

      Thanks for the recipes. Great site!

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