Ham and Bean Soup : How to Cook 16 Bean Soup Mix

Ham and Bean Soup, is a hearty and filling soup that will not leave you feeling hungry later on. It warms you up and is so comforting.  You can make it from from a variety of beans from small white beans, such as navy, or  pinto or today I made a batch from a 16 bean mix. It will taste amazing no matter what you choose!

16 Bean Soup

Week #3 of our #SouperOctober brings you one of my childhood favorites! When I was growing up my favorite "from a can " soup was Bean with Bacon. I still love it! So I learned to make my own early on. This recipe can be easily tweaked to be made with ham, bacon, kielbasa, a ham hock, whatever you have on hand!

I often will make this on a chilly Saturday or Sunday, and it just fills the house with such an amazing smell, you'll be ready to dive in and eat as soon as it's ready!

Cooking up Bean Soup from dried beans such as 16 bean soup or navy bean and ham soup is much easier, and less intimidating then you think! I make it in big batches several times a year and then pressure can it, so we can just grab a jar and heat up a meal of from scratch goodness year round. It also freezes really well too.
How to cook Dried Beans

Jan's Tip: I save my ham bones with Ham scraps on them from Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving dinners and freeze them. And then when I have 2 or 3 I cook up a giant batch of ham broth while 2 bags of beans are soaking. Once the beans are done soaking. I remove the bones and cook the beans in the ham broth with the scraps of ham tossed back in.  I then freeze or pressure can all the quarts of soup. I get anywhere from 6-8 quarts of soup usually when I cook up a double batch this way.  

Before we get to the soup recipe let me answer a few questions you may have on cooking up beans from scratch/dried. From those bags from the store.

Question: Is it cheaper to cook them from up from dried? 
Answer; YES! you save tons of money over canned beans.

Question: Do they freeze well after you cook them?
Answer: YES! You don't need to eat them all up once you cook them. I cook a bag of beans up, and then freeze in smaller portions. Especially for black beans! I use these in lots of my Mexican dishes now and but don't want to buy a whole can every time I want some. I cook up a bag for less than a dollar! and freeze tons of smaller portions in the freezer to thaw and toss into burritos, bowls, tacos, salads, and more!

Question: Do you have to pre-soak them before cooking? 
Answer; Yes. Beans do need 8 hours or overnight to soak in water before cooking. There is a quick cooking method I"ll share at the end, but I don't prefer it.  I just don't think my beans turn out quite as good as when I do the traditional long soak.

Question: Is there a way to reduce the "Gas" that they cause?
Answer: Yes.
You can help reduce the gas the beans cause by NOT cooking them in the soaking water! drain the water, rinse the beans not once, but at least 2 times thoroughly with fresh water and then cook them in fresh water or broth. When beans are soaking and softening the release a chemical that causes a lot of the gas that they cause, so you do NOT want to cook them in this same water that has the chemical in it. Rinse, rinse, rinse! then cook in fresh water.  I've heard of tricks such as a teaspoon of baking soda in the soaking water to help with this process, but I do not have proof of this working. (another reason I don't like the quick cook method mentioned above!.. you don't soak or rinse the beans. they cook straight up in the original liquid so are a bit more "gassy").

Question: Can I cook tomatoes with my beans?
Answer: Not till the very end of the recipe.
Tomatoes will react with the uncooked beans and prevent them from softening, so do not add any tomatoes or tomato sauces to your soup till the beans are completely cooked at the end of the recipe.
How to cook dried bean soup

Ham and Bean Soup:

1 lb ham, ham hock, Bacon, or smoked sausage/ kielbasa
1 15 oz bag of beans (any kind: navy, pinto or 16 bean mix)
2 qts water
2 qts ham broth, (or chicken broth or water)
1 or 2 teaspoons Seasoning: (use to taste )  ham or beef bouillon or use salt (or use seasoning packet if comes in the bean mix)
Optional: 1 cup onion chopped, 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes -drained


  • Soaking: Place beans in a large pot, cover with 2 quarts of waer. Soak beans over night or 8 hours.
  • After soaking; drain water, rinse beans well.
  • In large cooking pot, place beans, 2 quarts broth or water, and meat. Bring to a boil over med -high heat.
  • Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Add in optional ingredients: onions, tomatoes
  • Stir in seasonings : Either the bouillon the seasoning packet or salt to taste.
  • Makes 3 quarts.

Quick Cooking Method:

  • Rinse off beans from bag and lace in pot with 3 quarts of water.
  • Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat, cover adn continue to boil 60-70 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 60 minutes, add ingredients except seasoning. Simmer at lower temperature for 30-45 minutes.
  • Add seasoning and serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts on this post!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...