Fall starts in just a few days but you can feel it in the cool mornings and evenings. It’s just the right time to make a pot of hearty soup. Northern beans and ham are a classic combination and the aroma while it is cooking will just make you hungry. You will have a lot of soup with this recipe but it freezes well too. It’s a family favorite in my house and I hope it will be in yours too.
The beans in this soup need to be soaked overnight. However, if you forget you can always cover them with at least 2 inches of water above the beans and bring to a boil. Then turn off the heat and let them sit for an hour. Drain the beans and you can use as if you had soaked them.
Ingredients (8 - 10 Servings)
- 1 lb. dried northern beans
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 8 cups water
- 1 large ham shank (or ham hock)
- 3 sprigs of thyme (1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 1/2 cups diced ham
- 1/2 pkg of egg noodles
Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water. Make sure the water is at least 2 inches above the level of the beans. Let the beans soak overnight or at least 8 hours. (Photo A) Drain the beans and set aside.
Add olive oil to the pot and place on medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. (Photo B) Cook until the vegetables are tender. Put the beans back in the pot. Add the chicken broth, water, ham shank, thyme and diced ham. (Photo C) Cook on medium low heat for about 90 minutes. Continue cooking until the beans are tender and the mean is falling off the ham shank.
Add the egg noodles and remaining salt and pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes longer. Taste the soup and add extra salt and pepper as needed. Serve with cornbread and honey butter.