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White Bean Soup with Ham, Pumpkin, and Chard

White Bean Soup with Ham, Pumpkin, and Chard


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Hearty fall and winter soup with pumpkin, white beans, a ham hock, tomato, and chard.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

Years ago my doctor advised me to “eat colorful foods”. “When you look at the foods on your plate, there should be lots of color and variety,” he explained.

Great advice, and easy to remember. Colorful fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients.

Here’s a warming fall and winter stew that is so alive with color, it makes me smile just to look at it. Just take your basic white bean and ham soup, and rev it up with tomatoes, fresh pumpkin, and chard.

My father came over to try some for lunch and went home with half the batch (I wouldn’t let him take it all). Enjoy!

White Bean Soup with Ham, Pumpkin, and Chard Recipe

This recipe calls for a sugar pumpkin (the kind you use to make pies). You can easily substitute the same quantity of butternut squash or almost any winter squash.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • One 2 pound whole sugar pumpkin, halved, seeds scooped out, flesh peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks (resulting in 3 1/2 cups or 1 pound of chunks)
  • 1/2 pound ham hock
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained OR 1 large fresh, ripe tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 6 sprigs of thyme, tied with string (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 15-ounce cans of cannellini white beans, rinsed and drained, or homemade
  • 4 large Swiss chard leaves (can substitute kale), center rib removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1 Sauté onions, bay leaves, celery, garlic: Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large, thick-bottomed pot (5 to 6 quart). Add the onion and the bay leaves and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the chopped celery, cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.

2 Add pumpkin, ham hock, stock, tomatoes, thyme: Add the chopped pumpkin and the ham hock to the pot. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and thyme. Increase heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, uncovered. Let simmer for an hour and a half.

3 Remove ham hock, add white beans, chard: Remove the ham hock from the soup pot, to a plate to let cool enough to handle. Add the white beans and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chopped chard, simmer until chard is wilted, a few minutes more.

4 Strip ham from bone, chop, return to soup: Strip the meat from the ham hock, chop it, and return to the pot. Add 1 to 2 cups of water to the soup to thin it to your preference. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Add freshly ground black pepper and adjust seasonings to taste.

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White Bean-and-Chard Soup

When the days get shorter and the outside temperature starts dropping, it is time to pull out the Dutch oven and make a warm pot of soup. One of the easiest and most forgiving of dishes to make, a pot of soup or stew takes only minutes to prepare. If you have leftover chicken, beef, or a few vegetables in the refrigerator, you have the makings for a great soup. Whether you use your slow cooker or let the soup simmer on the stovetop, your kitchen will be filled with the savory aromas of spices, vegetables, and aromatics. Serve a basket of warm, homemade bread with the soup and you have a hearty dinner. This recipe for white bean soup is ready in just 40 minutes, making it convenient enough for a weeknight meal. Canned cannellini beans are paired with Swiss chard, a leafy green vegetable in the same family as beets and spinach. Chard is just as nutritious but has a milder flavor than spinach, plays nicely in a number of dishes and is easy to prepare. To keep the sodium count low, be sure and purchase low-sodium beans and low-sodium chicken stock.


WTF Is Pumpkin Spice, Anyway?

It's not even October yet, and we're already deep in pumpkin spice season. Starbucks rolled its lattes out early. And even Dunkin' Donuts has gotten on the spice train. It got us thinking: WTF is pumpkin spice, anyway? From the sound of it, pumpkin spice should include pumpkin and spices, right? Well, no.

Since pumpkin spice is meant to replicate the flavors of pumpkin pie, here's what you can always count on when you order something with pumpkin spice:

The mainstay spices include cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. After that, it varies from place to place. Some pumpkin spices include cloves. Others draw on allspice. We've even found recipes that add mace. But you know what they don't all have? Pumpkin.

If you're drinking a pumpkin spice latte or eating a pumpkin spice muffin, there will definitely be lots of sugar in it. However, sugar is NOT an ingredient in pumpkin pie spice.

That's right, pumpkin spice does not always mean pumpkin, despite what its name implies. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Hope you can still enjoy your (pumpkin-less) pumpkin spice latte this fall.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.


Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Quick-soak the Beans

Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2 to 3 inches of water.

Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let sit for one hour.

Drain the beans.

Step 2: Make the White Bean & Ham Soup

Place the drained beans into a 5.5-quart Dutch oven or large pot. Add the water, chicken stock, bay leaves, quartered onion, and ham hocks.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and simmer over low heat until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour (depending on the size of the beans, it could take a bit longer).

Once the beans are tender, pull out the bay leaves, onion remnants, and ham hocks. Discard the bay leaves and onions, but set the ham hocks aside to cool.

Add the minced onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, and 2 teaspoons of salt to the pot.

Increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the soup is cooking, and when the ham hocks are cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the hocks, discard any bone, fat, and tough sinew, and chop the meat finely.

Use a ladle to transfer about 2 cups of the beans and vegetables, along with a bit of broth, to a blender or food processor. (If using a blender, be sure to remove the center knob on the lid and cover with a dishtowel to avoid splatters.)

Stir the mixture back into the soup.

Add the meat and kale to the soup.

Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes more.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, if necessary. At this point, you can serve the soup or refrigerate it for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to eat, garnish each bowl with a drizzle with olive oil (if using) and a heap of grated cheese.


  • 1 pound great northern beans
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 leftover ham bone
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Sort through 1 pound dry great norther beans, discarding any debris or broken beans. Pour 6 cups of cool water over top and let them soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. They should double in size.
  1. Drain beans, rinse and set off to the side.
  2. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add in olive oil and onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add in garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir and cook 1 minute.
  4. Next add in the ham bone and broth. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add in the beans and simmer, with the lid cracked for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours or until beans are soft and tender.
  6. Remove ham bone, bay leaf and thyme stems. Use a potato masher and smash some of the beans to thicken the soup.
  7. Pick ham from bone (if it didn't come off already) and add the ham to the soup.
  8. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. For me it was 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Make a flavor base for the white bean soup

The secret to making absolutely delicious soup is to start with a flavor base. Different recipes will use different ingredients, but the concept remains the same, cooking vegetables gently in oil/fat until they start to soften. Then you build the soup from there.

Examples of flavor bases include: sofrito – really common in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine and mirepoix – a combination of onions, carrots and celery that’s French in origin.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onions and carrots. Cook the vegetables for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become translucent and start to soften.

Add the garlic, dried oregano and cumin to the pot. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.


Notes About This Recipe:

  • Fresh garlic is always best, but use jarred minced garlic if that’s all you have. I’ve found that jars or roasted garlic are a great substitution for the real thing, and one teaspoon of the jarred garlic equals one clove of fresh garlic.
  • Do not burn your garlic. You only need to cook it for about 30 seconds. If you leave it there longer, it will burn and give an off-flavor.
  • Sauteed Swiss chard recipe calls for white beans. Use whatever cans of white beans you have on hand, but Cannellini, Great Northern Beans or White Kidney beans all work just fine.
  • I would not recommend using a coarse salt to season this recipe because it will give the dish a gritty texture.
  • Sauteed Swiss Chard with White Beans recipe is served best hot, and drizzle with additional olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese to jazz up the recipe.

WHITE BEAN SOUP AND HAM

I recently asked you guys what you want more of in 2019 and one of the top things requested was more soup recipes. This makes me so happy because soups are on constant rotation in my house, especially in winter. I am excited to be partnering with the Ohio Pork Council today to bring you this hearty White Bean Soup and Ham. It is packed with protein from the ham. This is one of those soups that is light but still leaves you satisfied and full.

There are a few things I love about this soup. First of all, you can use up leftover ham in this soup. I don&rsquot know about you but whenever we make a ham we always have leftovers. Other than ham sandwiches, I am often on the hunt for recipes to make with that ham.

This ham soup is the perfect recipe for leftovers. If you don&rsquot have leftover ham, check your store for a pre-cooked ham. Did you know they sell those now? They are great! You can buy it, chop it up, add it to the White Bean Soup and Ham and it is ready when the soup is done cooking.


White Bean Soup with Pancetta and Swiss Chard

We borrowed this recipe from world renowned chef (and one-time Hoosier!) Wolfgang Puck. He expounds on the virtues of beans and even goes so far as to say “…my favorite soup ingredient is probably dried beans.” We couldn’t ask for a much better endorsement than that! Try out his recipe using our HamBeens® Great Northern Beans with Ham Flavor.

Prep Time

Cook Time

Servings

Ingredients

1 package [Hurst’s® Great Northern HamBeens®](/products/hursts-great-northern-ham-beens)

3/4 pound unsliced pancetta (If necessary, can substitute cured bacon)

2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 celery stalks, cut into small dice

1 medium-sized yellow onion, cut into small dice

1 medium-sized leek, trimmed, split lengthwise, thoroughly washed, and cut into small dice

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

3 ounces white wine vinegar

6 cups organic chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 pound Swiss chard leaves, cut crosswise into strips 1/2 inch wide

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

We borrowed this recipe from world renowned chef (and one-time Hoosier!) Wolfgang Puck. He expounds on the virtues of beans and even goes so far as to say “…my favorite soup ingredient is probably dried beans.” We couldn’t ask for a much better endorsement than that! Try out his recipe using our HamBeens® Great Northern Beans with Ham Flavor.

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Ingredients

3/4 pound unsliced pancetta (If necessary, can substitute cured bacon)

2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 celery stalks, cut into small dice

1 medium-sized yellow onion, cut into small dice

1 medium-sized leek, trimmed, split lengthwise, thoroughly washed, and cut into small dice

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

3 ounces white wine vinegar

6 cups organic chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 pound Swiss chard leaves, cut crosswise into strips 1/2 inch wide

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Directions

Rinse and sort through the dry beans, checking for any stones or unwanted debris and discard. Pour the beans into a large bowl and cover with at least 2” of water. Allow the beans to soak overnight or at least 6 hours. After soaking, drain and discard the water.

Place the beans, thyme sprigs, and 1/2 the pancetta into a large soup pot and cover with at least 2” of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1.5 hours.

In a separate pot, add in the olive oil and the remaining pancetta (diced). Saute over medium heat until it browns and begins to crisp. Then add the onion, leeks, celery, and garlic to the pot and cook until the onions become translucent (3-5 minutes). Raise heat to medium-high, add wine and vinegar, and boil until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes more.

Once the beans are cooked through, save a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the rest. Place 1/2 of the beans in a food processor or blender and puree to a smooth consistency. Use the remaining cooking liquid to help loosen the mixture while blending.

Add the whole and pureed beans to the vegetable mixture along with broth, parsley, and thyme leaves. Stir well. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally until the whole beans are tender and soup is thick, about 15 minutes longer. Season to taste.

A few minutes before serving, stir in the strips of Swiss chard. Continue cooking just until they have wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Ladle the soup into large bowls and top with a small handful of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


Tuscan White Bean Soup

Cut off the tough ends of the chard and rinse the greens thoroughly. Shake or pat dry and tear into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Saute the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent, stirring often. Add the prosciutto, HALF the herbs, the red pepper flakes (if you choose), and bay leaf and saute for another 3 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the beans and saute for another minute or two. Pour in the chicken broth, toss in the Parmesan rind, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the Swiss chard and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the greens have wilted. Season with salt, pepper, the other half of the herbs, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Remove the Parmesan rind before serving (if you can find it!).

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and warm crusty bread.

TIP: When I am running short on time, I will sometimes buy the pre-cut “Mirepoix” blend of onion, celery, and carrot at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. You can find it in the produce section. This seems like cheating, but it really does save time in a pinch!

TIP: Another time-saving tip: substitute chard or kale for a bag of baby spinach leaves.

TIP: This soup gets thicker the longer it sits, so when reheating leftovers I always add some water to thin it out a bit.