With fall setting in I have been craving soups more and more. Having a ready made meal on the shelf is one of the best things when I’m hungry after work. This Ham and Bean soup can be served with a side salad or these 5 Minute Biscuits for Two to make a perfect weeknight meal.
Last spring I contacted a local farmer and bought half a pig for the first time ever. The pork chops and sausage have been delicious but I have been struggling a little bit with using some of the larger cuts of meat with just the two of us. Being my first time filling out a cut sheet I definitely made some mistakes and will need to do things differently in the future. We are not big ham eaters in this house, and I have no holidays planned that would need these larger cuts of meat, so finding an alternative use for them has been a priority with the threat of winter storms knocking out power.
Using Fresh Ham
Unfortunately I didn’y have my hams cured by the butcher, so I’m left with about 7.5 lbs of fresh ham I need to use up. Curing salt I already have on hand, and a simple google search suggested various ways to brine/cure ham. I ended up using a wet brine based off of this recipe here, replacing the molasses with brown sugar.
I then roasted my ham in the oven with a simple glaze of brown sugar, orange juice and Dijon mustard until a meat thermometer read 160 degrees. Finally, I let my hams cool overnight, so that it would be easy to dice up for this recipe. Alternatively you can buy premade ham or use left over ham if you happen to have it on hand. In the end you’ll need ~2 lbs for this recipe.
Making Ham and Bean Soup
The National Center for Home Preservation’s guidelines on making soups can be found here. The main tenant is to prepare any of the ingredients you may use, be it meat or vegetables, in the same manner as you would prepare them individually. You can also find a fully tried and tested recipe for Navy Bean and Ham soup in the Complete Guide to Pressure Canning.
Besides the extra steps I took with curing the ham the only other thing to note is that the beans you use need to be fully hydrated. For me, this involved soaking over night and boiling for at east 30 minutes just before canning, but you can follow the instructions on the bag, there are usually several methods listed.
If you don’t have a pressure canner this soup also freezes well.
2 lb Cooked Ham cubed
2 lbs Navy Beans (precooked)
4 Medium Carrots
4 Stalks of Celery
2 Medium Onions
3 Quarts Good Stock
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp. Thyme
1 Tbsp. Oregano
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
Couple splashes of cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
Per The Complete Guide to pressure canning, sterilizing jars is not necessary prior to pressure canning (as long as they are clean to begin with). However, in order to reduce the risk of thermal shock and breakage you should warm your jars before filling them. Prepare your pressure canner per instructions and place over medium heat. Place 7 quart jars into the canner to warm up.
Prepare Canning Liquid
I’m using homemade pork stock to can this soup, but feel free to use whatever stock you prefer or have on hand. Add 3 quarts of stock to a large pot and place on medium heat to warm up. If you have dried Bay leaves add 2 or 3 as the stock warms up. You can also add the tops of the celery stalks and onion skins for an additional last minute punch of flavor.
Drain soaked beans and place in a sauce pan with enough fresh water to cover beans. Turn heat to high, bring to a boil before reducing heat to a simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Wash carrots and celery. Peel carrots. Cut carrots and celery into roughly even 1/2 inch slices.
Add onions, carrots, celery, thyme, oregano, and garlic powder to a bowl and mix together.
Chop ham into roughly 1/2 inch cubes.
Filling you Jars
Frist, remove warmed jars from pressure canner onto a clean towel covered cutting board.
Second, divide your onion, carrot, celery and herb mix between each jar (~ 1 heaping cup for each jar). Next divide the ham between all the jars (~1 cup per jar). Lastly, using a slotted spoon, divide and place cooked beans on top (~1.5 C per each jar).
Make sure to leave a generous 1″ to 1 1/4″ headspace. Tamp the jars gently up and down on the cutting board to help the ingredients settle in the jar if you find you are running out of room.
Third, remove bay leaves from the stock and fill each jar with the hot liquid, leaving one inch of head space.
Using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel wipe the rim of the jars with 5% vinegar.
Lastly, center lid on top of jar, add jar ring, and tighten to fingertip tight before placing in canner.
Pressure Canning Your Soup
Prepare your canner according to the instructions that came with it. Once your jars are placed into the canner, add the lid on top and process for 90 minutes at 11lbs of pressure (dial gauge) or 10lbs of pressure for a weight gauge.
Higher altitudes can find processing pressure and times here.
After the time is up, allow the canner to return to room pressure before removing lid. Place the jars on a towel covered cutting board to cool. It can take up to 24 hours for the jars to properly seal.
After 24 hours push down on the center of the lid. If it does not flex your jars have sealed. Remove rings from jars, wipe jars clean with a wet rag and store in a cool dry place for up to a year. If you have any jars that didn’t seal, place in fridge and use within a week.
The way I enjoy preparing this some is too pour the liquid along with about half of the beans into a sauce pan. While the soup begins warming up, I use an immersion blender to blend the beans until mostly smooth. I then add the rest of the jar a few splashes of cream, and salt and pepper to taste. This gives you a creamy textured broth while allowing for your cubed ham and veggies to remain intact. Heat to a simmer and serve!
Ham and Bean Soup
This Ham and Bean soup is a delicious easy weeknight meal on its own. Even better, it can also be pressure canned for later use.
- 2 lbs Cook Ham (Diced into 1/2 inch Cubes)
- 2 lbs Dried Navy Beans (Soaked and precooked)
- 4 Medium Carrots
- 4 Stalks Celery
- 2 Medium Onions
- 3 Quarts Good Stock
- 3 Dried Bay Leaves
- 1 tbsp. Thyme
- 1 tbsp. Oregano
- 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
Optional for Serving
- Heavy Whipping Cream (A few splashes)
- Salt and Pepper (To taste)
Prepare your canner per instructions and place on medium heat. Place 7 quart jars into canner to begin warming up.
In large pot, add the 3 quarts of stock and bay leaves and place on medium heat until simmering. Reduce down to low to keep warm while the rest of the ingredients are prepped.
In a third pot place your pre soaked beans into fresh water and bring to a boil. Boil for at least 30 minutes.
Roughly chop your onions, carrots, celery into ½ inch pieces and place into a bowl. Add the thyme, oregano and garlic powder on top and mix briefly.
Roughly chop your ham into ½ inch cubes.
Remove your warmed jars from the canner and place on a cloth covered cutting board.
Divide the vegetable mixture equally between the 7 jars (roughly one heaping cup)
Divide the cubed ham equally between the 7 jars (roughly one cup)
Lastly, using a slotted spoon, fill the rest of the jars up with the cooked beans, leaving one inch of headspace. Tamp jars up and down gently on cutting board to help settle ingredients if you run out of room.
Ladle the simmering broth into each jar allowing for 1 inch of headspace. Remove bubbles from jar with a long thin instrument and top off liquid to maintain the 1 inch headspace if necessary.
Wipe the rim of the jar with white vinegar, center lids on each jar and add ring, tightening to fingertip tight.
Place the filled quart jars into your canner and process for 90 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure dial gauge, or 10 pounds of pressure weight gauge.
Additional information for high altitudes can be found here.
Allow canner to return to room pressure naturally before removing lid. Allow the jars to seal for up to 24 hours. After 24 hours check to see if the lids flex, if they do not your soup has canned properly. Remove rings, wipe down jars and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.
Pour liquid and half of the beans into a saucepan and place on medium heat.
Using an immersion blender, blend beans until smooth.
Add the rest of the jar into the sauce pan.
Add a splash of heavy whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat to simmering and serve!