Saturday, May 21, 2016

Grandma Mary's Bean Soup #Recipe @PegCochran

I've been trying to work my way through some of the food stocked in the big freezer we have out in the garage.  When something I use frequently--like chicken--is on sale, I will stock up.  But the freezer is getting a little too full and since it seems the apocalypse has been delayed for the time being, I thought I'd better start using some of the frozen food.

 While I was poking around I discovered the ham bone I'd saved from Easter dinner (I also found the ham bone I'd saved from the *previous* Easter's dinner but that's a story for another time.)  I always loved my mother-in-law's bean soup which she made after Easter with the ham bone, and fortunately I had the recipe so here it is!


2 quarts boiling water
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns (I didn't count)
1 onion, peeled
3 whole cloves
1 lb. great Northern beans

I know there's an enormous divide among those who believe beans need to be soaked and those who don't.  I decided to be on the safe side and I soaked the beans overnight in cold water.

If there are any good bits of ham still clinging to the bone, or if you've saved some ham, cut it into bite-sized pieces and put it aside.

Put all of the above in a large soup pot, bring to a boil, skim the foam from the top and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  My beans must have been very fresh because they only took 2 hours to become soft and tender.

Optional step:  Since I had time before dinner, I put the soup in the refrigerator until the fat congealed on top making it super easy to remove.

Congealed fat--so easy to skim off!

More Ingredients:

carrots, sliced
parsnip, sliced
onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Leftover cubed ham
salt and pepper to taste

You will note there are no quantities for some of these ingredients.  The recipe called for 6 carorts, 3 parsnips and 3 onions.  That seemed excessive especially given the size of my carrots.  I put in 1 parsnip, 2 carrots and 1 onion.  It made for a full pot of soup and I didn't think it needed anymore.  Use your judgment.  If you LOVE carrots, you can add more.

Add the above along with the ham to the soup pot and cook another 30 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.  Mine took forever.  Note to self: make thinner slices next time.

Add a sprinkle of paprika (about a teaspoon or to taste), stir and serve.  If you want to go all retro, enjoy with buttered saltines.  If you want to be very grown-up, serve with good crusty bread.

For more good recipes, and a good mystery, pick up a copy of Berry the Hatchet, #2 in my Cranberry Cove series!

Coming in September -- an all new series!



  1. The soup sounds good. I had the same problem of not knowing what was in an overly full freezer so now I keep a list of what's in there and the date it was put in on the side of the freezer. I cross off what I take out. When it gets too messy I just update the list on the computer and print out a new one. It's saved me money because I don't buy things I already have and I know what needs to be used up.

    1. Sandy, that's an excellent idea! I try to label the individual plastic bags with date & contents (I always repack everything into two person-sized portions) but things can get shoved to the back and I still have to paw through everything to see what's in there.

  2. Sandy, do you hire out? I need that organization in my freezer! I keep meaning to do this, but...

    Peg, I, too, tend to stock up when things are on sale. Most goes into the freezer and a bit is used right away for dinner. That means I tend to fill the freezer without emptying it.
    I have to make a point of planning meals around the frozen goods.

    This soup sound lovely. I'll be right over for a bowl of it!

    1. You just reminded me--I need to get the steak out of the freezer for tonight's dinner or I'll end up buying another one like I had to do last weekend! (Saturday is steak night--the only night we eat red meat.)

  3. This sounds so good, Peg. I took some leftover ham out of the freezer the other day but it was very watery. Have you had that happen?

    1. This wasn't watery but maybe because it was still on the bone?

  4. Thanks for the recipe. I wanted to pin it to Pinterest but whatever has changed on this page, something doesn't let me pin this particular recipe page. Oh, well. The new series sounds very good!