I have the remains of a ham at my disposal.
I’ve always enjoyed the very simple Senate Bean soup.
I heartily second the recommendation of a split-pea soup and bring some over, please! I make mine in the crockpot, with chicken stock or broth and red pepper flakes included in the spices to give it a little kick, and blend some of the peas at the end for a smooth consistency. This looks about right with the addition of the pepper. Mmm. Dude.
So 1 actual recommendation for bean soup and 2 recommendations for pea soups.
This one is my wife’s favorite (I like it too). She says to replace the water with chicken or any vegetable stock.
This one has no beans, bit it’s an excellent soup.
Just about any sort of dried bean is wonderful when cooked with a ham bone.
Clean and sort beans (I’m not giving measures because I have no idea how much bone and how much ham you have). Soak, preferably overnight. Drain beans and rinse well. Cook diced onion and celery and maybe carrot in a little vegetable oil until soft but not browned. Put beans, ham and bone, and the veggies in pot, cover with a mix of water and chicken stock. Stock made from cubes or granules or paste is fine, and you can just add the stuff in with the water and give it a good stir when the liquid’s hot. If you use cubes or granules don’t add salt, the broth will probably be quite salty enough for most people. I like Better Than Bullion flavor bases, which come in an amazing variety of flavors. They have to be refrigerated after opening, but they are not nearly so salty as other options. Back to the beans. Let everything simmer until the beans are completely cooked through. At this point some people like to take some of the beans out and mash them and add them back into the pot to thicken the liquid. I don’t bother, but I add this in the interest of completeness. Remove hambone, let it cool a bit, and remove the bits of meat, add them back into the pot. If you have a dog, he will love you forever if you give him that bone.
Some people cook up a big batch of white rice, and put some rice in a bowl and then put the bean soup on top of this, and it’s very good. Some people just cook the rice in the pot during the last half hour or so, and this is also very good, and I prefer this method as the rice will pick up some of the ham and chicken flavoring while it cooks. I put the rice in when I take the bone out.
If you don’t have much ham on that bone, you might consider adding some diced ham steak. I usually use one ham hock and about 3/4 of a pound of ham steak when I make a pound (dried weight) of beans. The beans don’t have to be all the same kind, either. There are plenty of bean mixes on the shelves, and one brand is either 15 or 16 bean soup.
Lentils don’t need the long soaking and cooking period.
If I get a box of bacon ends and pieces (these are the trimmings from other bacon packages, and much, much cheaper), sometimes I will fry up that bacon, cook the veggies in the fat, chop the bacon, and use that for the side meat.
By the way, ham’n’beans MUST have corn bread or corn muffins to keep it company. I simply will not listen to anyone who says otherwise.
Ham hocks add wonderful flavor to bean soup, but there’s not much meat on them, they’re mostly bone, skin, and fat. Chef Troy told me about using chicken stock and adding ham steak to bean dishes, and I use this method now.
An Englishman goes into a greasy spoon in the States and orders the soup of the day. When it arrives he look at it with horror and asks the waitress, ‘Good Lord! What is this?’ The waitress replies, ‘It’s bean soup.’ The Englishman says, ‘I don’t care what it’s been. What is it now?’
Uncle Johnny annoys the kids with his favorite groaner.
I decided to basically use the Senate recipe. I made a mirepoix in the pot, added some garlic, salt, and pepper, then the beans and hambone. I browned a bunch of the ham scraps since I had a LOT of ham, threw that in the pot, added some bay leaves, and simmered for 3 hours. Near the end I removed the bone, added a cup of milk to make the broth a little creamier, simmered a little more, and served with crusty bread. It was goooooooooooooooooood.
Oooh, I agree with Lynn Bodoni. that is just how I make mine.
One thing only, about the 15 bean soup packages, is that not all of the various types will cook to the same consistancy. Some will moosh, some will still be firm. So I have taken to using only one kind, like navy or white beans. It is easier to control when the batch is done.
Other than that, good bone-in hams are a great buy this time of year. You can have a ham dinner or two and leave a bunch of meat on the bone and then you have the beginings of great bean soup.