Outstanding Ham and Bean Soup

READY IN: 16hrs
YIELD: 10 ---




  • The Day Before:
  • - Around 2 PM the day before take your 1 lb. 8 oz. bag of Navy Beans and rinse them off. Then pour the beans into your largest stove pot. Pour in six cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer the beans for about two minutes. Turn off the heat and then place a lid on the pot and let sit to 9 PM or till you assemble the ingredients in your 6-qt crock pot. When boiling be careful because the beans will foam up and overflow the pot. Occasionally, check the pot throughout the day and evening to ensure the beans remain covered by the water; if not, add water till the beans are covered.
  • - While this is going on take three or more fresh celery stalks and finely dice them into small pieces. You should end up with about 2 cups of celery.
  • - Also, dice up 10 or more baby carrots till you reach 2 cups. I find it is a lot easier to just purchase a bag of baby carrots and dice these up.
  • - Then take a large onion and dice it up into very small pieces until you have 2 cups worth.
  • - Now take one large red and yellow bell peppers and finely dice until you have 1 ½ to 2 cups worth.
  • - And finally, you will need 4 cups of diced ham. Normally, I purchase a two pound ham end piece and dice this up until I have four cups; you will have some ham left over. I use black forest ham to get the best flavor.
  • - Now place all diced ingredients into a large sealed storage container and then refrigerate until you assemble the mix for cooking.
  • The Night Before:
  • - Around 9 to 11 PM the night before drain the water from the pot containing the navy beans. Pour the beans into your 6-qt crock pot. Note, this recipe will probably fill the crock to its brim. I use a slow cooker liner bag in the crock to simplify cleanup.
  • - Pour your previously prepared containers of diced celery, carrots, onions, peppers, and ham into the crock pot.
  • - Sprinkle in 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and then put in 2 bay leaves.
  • - Mix all ingredients together with a large spoon.
  • - Now pour in 2 cups of tomato or V8 juice, 6 cups of water, stir well, put the lid on, and turn the crock on to “LOW”; then go to bed.
  • - For the first few hours the smell of onions will be strong, but this will dissipate as they cook into the soup.
  • The Day of Serving:
  • - After cooking about15 hours the soup reached the bean softness and consistence we like. (We placed the crock on LOW at 9 PM the night before and it was done by 12 PM the next day.) Note every crock pot is different with regards to amount of heat it produces, therefore, after 12 hours I recommend you monitor the soup closely until it reaches the consistence you want.
  • - Note, if the beans are still not soft after 12 to 13 hours of cooking turn the crock pot to “HIGH”; you make the determination.
  • - About 1 to 3 hours before serving take a metal potato masher; a flat bottom one with holes seems to work best, and mash up some of the beans against the bottom of the crock pot; only mash a small portion. Mash just enough beans to make any clear fluid at the top of the crock pot take on the color of the beans and increase the overall thickness/consistence of the soup. You may have to do this one or more time until you are happy with the soup thickness. This way you do not have to pour a portion of the soup mix into a food processor to grind it up then place back into the crock as so many recipes call for in order to give your mix the typical bean soup appearance.
  • - Note, if the soup is still too watery for your taste then let it sit for a while (keep heat on) until all solids settle to the bottom of the crock. After the beans have settled you may skim off the excess water using a small glass measuring cup. Do not remove too much; remove enough water to reach the consistency (thickness) you are looking for. Then stir, serve, and ENJOY.
  • - Upon serving, let each guest add pepper and salt to suit their individual palate. In the past I would occasionally add some ketchup to my bowl for additional flavor. However, recently I discovered a few drops of Tabasco sauce really makes all the flavors in the soup "POP".
  • - I recommend you freeze or refrigerate any leftovers for consumption at a later date. When reheating the soup you may need to add a little bit of water depending upon how thick your soup was initially.
  • - If you plan on making corn bread to go along with the bean soup I recommend you start making it one hour before you serve the soup.