White Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks


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When it comes to comfort food, few dishes can rival the heartwarming appeal of creamy white bean soup with smoked ham hocks. This delicious and soul-satisfying recipe combines tender white beans, smoky ham hocks, and a medley of aromatic vegetables in a rich and creamy broth. With its rustic flavors and hearty texture, this soup is the perfect choice for a chilly winter’s day or anytime you crave a bowl of comforting goodness. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the origins of this classic recipe, the key ingredients that make it so special, and provide you with a step-by-step guide to preparing this delectable dish in your own kitchen. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, grab our aprons, and get ready to savor the warm embrace of creamy white bean soup with smoked ham hocks.

White bean soup with smoked ham hocks is a hearty and comforting dish with a history deeply rooted in traditional American cuisine. Here’s a glimpse into its story:

  • Colonial Roots: Bean soups have been a staple in American cooking since colonial times. Early settlers brought various types of beans with them, and these ingredients became essential for survival during harsh winters.
  • Southern Tradition: In the American South, bean soups, particularly those made with ham hocks or other smoked meats, have been a cherished part of Southern comfort food for generations. They are often served with cornbread or rice.
  • Economical and Nutritious: White bean soup with smoked ham hocks was born out of the need to make economical yet nourishing meals. Ham hocks, which are inexpensive cuts of pork, impart a rich smokiness and flavor to the beans.
  • Variations: This soup has many regional variations. Some recipes include additional vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions, while others keep it simple with just beans and ham hocks. Seasonings can also vary, with some cooks using bay leaves, thyme, or other herbs.

White Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks

Creamy white bean soup with smoked ham hocks is a beloved traditional dish that has been cherished by many cultures for generations. This recipe brings together the heartiness of white beans, the smokiness of ham hocks, and the comforting flavors of vegetables and spices. Slow-cooked to perfection, this soup not only warms the body but also nourishes the soul with its robust flavors and creamy texture.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 2 hrs Rest Time 10 mins Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 6 Calories: 595.48 Best Season: Winter


Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepare the Beans:

  1. Rinse the dried white beans under cold water and remove any debris or impurities.

  2. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water, allowing them to soak overnight. This process helps soften the beans and reduce cooking time.

Cook the Smoked Ham Hocks:

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, place the smoked ham hocks and cover them with water.

  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the ham hocks for about 1 hour or until they become tender.

Sauté the Aromatic Vegetables:

  1. In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat.

  2. Add the chopped onion, diced carrots, and diced celery to the pan, sautéing until the vegetables become tender and the onion becomes translucent.

  3. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

Combine the Ingredients:

  1. Once the ham hocks are tender, remove them from the pot and set them aside to cool slightly.

  2. Drain the soaked white beans and add them to the soup pot with the sautéed vegetables.

  3. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and water, and add the bay leaf, dried thyme, and dried rosemary.

  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for about 1 hour or until the beans are tender and fully cooked.

Prepare the Ham Hocks:

  1. Once the ham hocks are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Discard any excess fat or gristle.

Blend the Soup (Optional):

  1. For a creamier texture, use an immersion blender or transfer a portion of the soup to a regular blender (in batches) and blend until smooth.

Add the Smoked Ham Hock Meat and Cream:

  1. Return the shredded ham hock meat to the soup pot.

  2. Pour in the heavy cream or half-and-half, stirring to combine.

  3. Let the soup simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Season and Serve:

  1. Season the creamy white bean soup with salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 595.48kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22.27g35%
Saturated Fat 11.62g59%
Trans Fat 0.49g
Cholesterol 110.31mg37%
Sodium 2835.83mg119%
Potassium 2010mg58%
Total Carbohydrate 53.06g18%
Dietary Fiber 12.85g52%
Sugars 5.79g
Protein 47.05g95%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • Add Veggies: Feel free to include other vegetables such as diced potatoes, leeks, or spinach to enhance the soup's flavor and nutritional value.

  • Make It Vegetarian: To make this soup vegetarian, omit the ham hocks and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can also add smoked paprika or liquid smoke to impart a smoky flavor without the ham hocks.

  • Use Canned Beans: If you're short on time, you can use canned white beans. Just remember to drain and rinse them before adding them to the soup.

Serving Suggestions:
  • Serve the creamy white bean soup with crusty bread or garlic toast for a complete and satisfying meal.
  • Pair it with a simple green salad to balance out the richness of the soup.
Allergen Information:
  • Pork Allergies: Be cautious if you have a pork allergy, as ham hocks are a key ingredient in this recipe. Consider substituting with a non-pork smoked meat or using smoked turkey or chicken if you have dietary restrictions.

  • Gluten-Free: This soup is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten allergies or sensitivities.

Wine or Drink Pairing:
  • Chardonnay: The buttery and slightly oaked notes of a Chardonnay pair well with the creamy texture and smoky flavors of the soup.

  • Pinot Grigio: A crisp and light Pinot Grigio complements the savory notes of the ham hocks and adds a refreshing contrast.

  • Hard Cider: For a non-alcoholic option, consider a dry hard cider. Its effervescence and apple notes balance the richness of the soup.

Storage and Leftovers:
  • Refrigeration: Store any leftover white bean soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

  • Freezing: This soup freezes well. Place it in a freezer-safe container or resealable bags, and it can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

  • Reheating: When reheating, add a splash of water or broth to maintain the soup's desired consistency, as it can thicken upon standing.

Keywords: Creamy white bean soup, smoked ham hocks, comfort food, hearty, winter soup, traditional, soul-satisfying.

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