You have to understand my history to know why I found this recipe so fantastic. Growing up, when my mother cooked something, we had to eat it regardless of whether we liked it or not. We might not have had to eat a lot of it, but we did have to eat some of it. And I HATED white beans. I would come home from school and see the white beans soaking in a pot on the stove and be depressed for a full day knowing that I would have to eat them for dinner the next night. I tried smothering them in catsup and onions and nothing worked. Finally after having to eat them for dinner once, I threw them back up (gross, right?) and never had to eat them again. All I could think of is “I wish I’d done that years before!”
After I married my husband, he loved ham and I would buy a ham and then have the ham hock left with all the meat on it. He loved white bean soup, so I decided to try and make some for him. I did it several times through the years and I would always try and eat some but generally, I could only eat a few bites until the old taste-feelings (I think I coined a new phrase) would kick in and I could eat no more.
This recipe is so good that not only did I eat a full bowl, I went back for seconds!
1/2 large onion chopped
2 carrots thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery or 2 tsps. dried celery flakes
4 gloves of garlic or 1 tsp. minced garlic
6 cups chicken broth or if you want a thicker soup, 5 cups
One ham hock with skin removed
1 16 oz bag uncooked navy or white beans*
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 3 oz. can green chilies
1 8 oz. brick cream cheese chopped
Soak the dried beans in water for 24 hrs. or overnight, The beans will soak up the water so it may be necessary to add additional water thorough out the soaking time. Presoaking the beans reportedly helps to reduce the gassiness (is that a word?) of the beans.
Add beans to slow cooker with ham hock and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine flavors and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4 hrs. Cooking time will vary depending on the wattage of your cooker.
When finished cooking, remove ham bones and shred ham, returning ham to the soup. Using a potato masher, mash some of the beans to thicken the soup.
Serve with crackers or corn bread.
*To save time, you can substitute a 16 oz. can of white, navy or cannellini beans for the dried beans.
To download a .pdf of this recipe, click this link: Slow Cooker White Bean and Ham
If you want to know the difference between Great Northern White Beans, Navy Beans and Cannellini Beans, check out this website.