I have said it many times before but I LOVE my slow cooker (or crock pot, whichever you call it). It is a huge help on busy days, tired days, or days I just don’t want to think about prepping dinner at 4:00 PM. As a home school mom, the slow cooker really helps me be able to focus my efforts on school and not feel rushed to plan out work in the afternoon and fit in dinner prep. I often find myself searching online for a slow cooker version of a favorite meal; it is pretty safe to say there is always someone who has attempted the slow cooker for any and every meal.
One of my favorite meals growing up was ham and bean soup. My mom’s ham and bean soup was so delicious, and, paired with some cornbread, it was a super filling and the best on a cool day. Honestly, I could say that about any of my mom’s soups, but ham and bean was my absolute favorite.
I realize Spring is here and the weather is (or SHOULD BE) warming up soon, but I am still in soup season here. With chilly days or chilly evenings, soups just hit the spot for me. So, I found and have used a slow cooker version of the soup. And it is delicious!
I should mention that online people always say not to use the water that dry beans soak/cook in because that is was causes gas. For me, I live with 6 other people and (not to be gross) but someone always has gas here. Ha! 😉 So, the increase in gas potential doesn’t bother me. If you want to avoid the gaseous broth, use canned beans or soak and cook your dry beans separate and add them to the slow cooker later in the day. Either way, this is a delicious soup that everyone should make….often.
Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup
- 1 pound dry cannellini or great northern beans (or, really, any beans you like…i just prefer a white bean for this soup)
- 1 ham bone with meat on it or 2 cups chopped ham off the bone (I typically freeze a ham bone with meat left on it after a meal, so we have it for use in this soup later. The meat falls off the bone in the slow cooker and the bone adds tremendous flavor.)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 chopped sweet onion (or onion powder)
- 1 clove minced garlic (or some garlic powder)
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp celery seed (or chopped celery pieces)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt….I wait until the end to salt this. Between the chicken broth and the ham bone/meat, it can be salty enough already. If I taste it around 3PM and it needs more, I add it then. If it is TOO salty, take the ham bone out for the remaining cook time. Sometimes I do that.
Add the beans to the bottom of the slow cooker. Set the ham and other dry ingredients on top. Pour in the liquids, making sure all beans are in the liquid and not on top of the ham bone uncovered. Cook on low 7-8 hours, tasting the salt flavoring about 5-6 hrs in. If short on time, cook on high for 4 hours, making sure the beans are tender.
You could also add some chopped carrots to this for more flavor. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Just depends on how much time I have to get it all in the slow cooker before the kids get restless here.
Serve with a giant piece of cornbread. 🙂 We like to sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of the soup, too. But we have a cheese obsession, so it gets included in every dinner!