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Smoky Ham and Bean Soup

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Smoky Ham and Bean Soup

The Story Behind the Soup

As the temperatures start to dip and the days grow shorter, there’s nothing quite like curling up with a steaming bowl of hearty, smoky ham and bean soup. This comforting dish has been a beloved staple in my family for as long as I can remember, and it’s one I’ve been eager to share with the world.

You see, I come from a long line of dedicated home cooks, and my love for this soup in particular stems from childhood memories of my grandmother’s kitchen. Every winter, she would meticulously plan her holiday ham purchases, carefully selecting the perfect smoked pork to ensure the most flavorful broth for her signature soup. The aroma that would waft through the house as the ham bones simmered away on the stove was enough to make anyone’s mouth water in anticipation.

As the folks at BBQ Addicts put it, “Feed the Addiction Ham and Bean Soup is a great way to get extra mileage out of a Double Smoked Ham.” And they couldn’t be more right. By saving those ham bones and slow-simmering them in a pot of beans, you can transform the leftovers into a truly exceptional meal.

So, grab your biggest stock pot, because today, I’m going to share my family’s treasured recipe for smoky ham and bean soup. Trust me, once you’ve had a taste of this cozy winter delight, it’ll become a staple in your household too.

Choosing the Right Beans

Now, when it comes to ham and bean soup, the type of beans you use can make all the difference. Our Best Bites recommends sticking to traditional white beans like Great Northern or cannellini, but I’ve found that pinto beans work beautifully as well.

In fact, the first time I made this soup, my local grocery store was fresh out of the typical white bean options, so I decided to give pinto beans a try. And let me tell you, it was a stroke of pure genius! The pinto beans have a richer, more robust flavor that pairs perfectly with the smoky ham. Plus, their darker color adds a lovely depth to the overall appearance of the dish.

Of course, you’re more than welcome to use whichever bean variety you prefer. Just be sure to give them a thorough rinse and sort through them to discard any pebbles or misshapen beans before soaking them overnight. This extra step ensures your final soup will be free of any unwanted grit or debris.

The Secret to Smoky Perfection

Now, the true magic of this ham and bean soup lies in the slow-simmered ham broth. As Once Upon a Chef notes, “The secret to this soup’s deep, smoky flavor is the ham bone.” By allowing the bones to steep in the broth for a couple of hours, you’ll extract every last ounce of that irresistible smoked pork flavor.

But don’t just take my word for it. The Woks of Life team swears by this method, explaining that “the longer the ham bone simmers in the broth, the deeper the flavor will be.” And let’s not forget the Traeger team’s recommendation to “leave a decent amount of meat on the bone” to ensure your soup ends up nice and hearty.

So, as tempting as it might be to rush through the simmering process, I urge you to be patient. The extra time spent allowing those flavors to meld and mingle will pay off in the most delectable way. Your taste buds will thank you, I promise.

Seasoning and Serving

Of course, no ham and bean soup would be complete without the perfect blend of seasonings. While the smoked ham provides a natural savory base, I like to give my version an extra kick of flavor with a generous dose of black pepper, a pinch of sugar, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

The black pepper is non-negotiable in my opinion. As the BBQ Addicts folks mentioned, I too like to keep the pepper mill handy and add a few cranks every time I stir the pot. It’s the perfect way to balance out the richness of the ham and beans.

As for the sugar and lemon juice, these little additions help to brighten up the overall flavor profile, lending a subtle sweetness and tangy edge that really makes the soup sing. Trust me, these simple seasonings are what take this dish from good to downright crave-worthy.

And the perfect companion for this cozy soup? Homemade cornbread, of course! Home Cooking Rocks has an incredible Cheddar Green Chile Cornbread recipe that would pair beautifully. A steaming wedge of that savory, slightly spicy cornbread is the ultimate comfort food pairing.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your biggest pot, round up those leftover ham bones, and get ready to indulge in the most satisfying bowl of smoky ham and bean soup you’ve ever tasted. It’s the perfect way to warm up on a chilly winter day, I promise.

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