I’m a big fan of comfort food, and I’m longing for cooler weather right now. The South Florida summer is kicking in, and cool days here are 85 degrees. I miss those few chilly days we get each year when it dips waaaay down into the 50’s, and it’s showing in the foods I’m craving lately. White bean and ham soup is classic southern comfort food, so here we go!
This post was originally published on May 23, 2017. The text and photos were updated on August 2, 2021. The review and rating have not been changed.
Hearty white bean and ham soup, perfect for cold winter days! White beans, ham shanks, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, Tabasco, and herbs.
The first time I made this recipe, everything was easy to find except the smoked ham hocks. I ended up going with fresh ham shanks from the meat counter. Now I keep an eye out and pick up a couple of packages whenever I run across them (this recipe needs 4 smoked hocks or 2 fresh).
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. For example, fresh pork hocks have a lot more meat on them. I really like that. The smoked hocks barely have any meat, but they do add that extra smoky flavor. But either way, this soup is glorious, and you can’t go wrong with smoked or fresh.
I’ve always used canned beans when I make soup, so I really wanted to try using dried beans this time. I’m not the best planner and remembering to soak the beans the night before I want soup could be a challenge for me. However, the 2-hour boil-and-soak method listed in this recipe was definitely something I could handle.
This recipe is quick to prep and easy to cook. I had everything ready to go in 10 minutes, just as listed. Seasonings are listed as “add to taste”. I’d say I used about a teaspoon of coarse sea salt, half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and 1-2 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce.
No special equipment was needed. I used my 5.3-quart cast iron casserole on the stovetop, plus a skillet for the onions & garlic and a smaller pot for the beans. The water didn’t quite cover the ham hocks, so I’ll probably add more next time so I don’t have to turn them to get them to cook evenly.
Tip: Start boiling the ham hocks/shanks for the broth while the beans are soaking. I started the broth 50 minutes after the beans, and they finished around the same time.