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Lunch / Dinner

White Bean & Ham Soup

Is there any soup more substantial than ham and bean? Packed with protein, it’s the perfect cozy meal for keeping you warm on the chilliest of nights. While we call for a ham steak here, this is the perfect recipe to use up any leftover holiday ham.

The basic dried bean becomes noble and worth its weight in gold when transformed into bean soup. With today’s hectic schedules, though, it’s hard to imagine actually cooking dried beans when it’s easier to open a can. But dried beans are worth cooking in terms of flavor, texture, and health benefits. Before cooking them, it’s important to pick through the dried beans to remove any pebbles and to rinse away any dirt. In addition to the beans, this stew is loaded with vegetables and smoky ham, making for an even heartier soup. Look for a ham steak, which is the perfect amount for this recipe.


8 servings

Total Time

3 hours

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For the beans, heat 6 cups broth, beans, and bacon in a pot to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer beans 2 hours; discard bacon.

For the soup, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown ham in 2 batches, 3 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate.

Add cabbage, leeks, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to Dutch oven; sweat, partially covered, 78 minutes. Stir in 6 cups broth, potatoes, parsnips, and beans and any residual broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer soup, partially covered, until potatoes and parsnips are fork-tender, 1520 minutes. Stir in ham and parsley and season soup with salt, pepper, and vinegar.


To give the soup smoky flavor, add bacon to the broth and beans and simmer for 2 hours.


Cooking the ham in butter not only tastes terrific, it leaves behind fond for layers of flavor in the soup.


Since the beans are already cooked, add them to the soup towards the end with the potatoes and parsnips.

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