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Bean and Ham Soup

I love to use leftovers in soups. It's the perfect vehicle. I had leftover ham from a huge ham steak. One can only eat so much of it before needing something different. And I can freeze this soup!

2 15.5 ounce cans cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)

1 large onion

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup corn on the cob (taken off the cob)

1-2 cups ham (Depending on how much you have left over or how much you want to use. Omit ham if you are making this a vegetarian soup.)

2 T olive oil

4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want to make it vegetarian)

2 bay leaves

2 T fresh chives

salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook until the onion is softened (about 5 minutes or so). Add the corn and ham and saute another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, broth, and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix. Let it reach a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.

At that point, taste your soup to determine if you need additional salt or pepper. If so, add it. Add the chives. Let simmer another 15 minutes and serve.

(As a note, I sometimes let the soup simmer longer than 30 minutes if I have the time. I like to cook soups on low heat for an extended period as I think it helps the flavors to meld. I also sometimes prefers soups the next day after they've really had a chance to meld flavors.)


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