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 sautÃ©ed 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- After the beans have soaked overnight or even as long as 24 hours, drain them and rinse them thoroughly.
- Add the beans, kombu, ham hock, celery, carrot and bay leaf to a crockpot and cover with fresh, filtered water.
- 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.
- Serve ham and bean soup with Cranberry Masa Muffins instead of cornbread and a big pile of sauteed greens with garlic.