Yes! Soup For You: Butter Bean and Ham Soup in the Slow Cooker

With all this talk of Polar Vortexes, snow and wintry mixes, I can’t help but think about making oodles and oodles of soup. Like pots and pots of hot, delicious soup.  YUM. Today, after doing a refrigerator check, found a small boneless ham defrosted and ready to use, and a beautiful container of fresh butter beans (or baby lima beans, for those of you not familiar with the southern term) from the farmer’s market.  Score.

I scoured the inter web trying to find an easy recipe and one for the slow cooker.  I settled on this one, which I modified, from a MyFoxNY post, Good Day Cafe – Butter Bean & Bacon Soup.  Quick, simple, contained ingredients from my refrigerator, and could cook in the crockpot equals a winner in my book.  I often rely on my crockpot these days to help the cooking cravings as it works its magic all day long and I conveniently use that extra time to meal plan for the week, do laundry, play fetch with the dog, or “veg out” and catch up on episodes of Gossip Girl (yes, sadly, a sitcom vice). Anyway, onward to the SOUP FOR YOU!

Ingredients 
1/2 cup – 1 cup            Diced cooked ham  OR a ham hock, for “ham flavor” – your choice
(I used one of those small boneless hunks of pre-cooked ham sold in the bacon/deli meat section – it came sliced so I diced up the thicker slices and saved the thin slices for sandwiches)

1/2 cup                         Celery, small diced

1/2 cup                         Carrots, small diced

1/2 tsp.*                        Kosher Salt (optional – especially for those on lower sodium diets)

1/4 cup                         Slicing or roma tomato, small diced

1 tsp.                            Garlic cloves, minced

4 cups                          Chicken/Vegetable/Beef Stock and/or water                                     (I usually mix half and half stock/water – generally using rule of thumb to “cover ingredients” in the crockpot as much of the liquid will cook down during the day)

1/2 tsp.                          Hot Pepper Sauce

1 tbsp.                           Bloody Mary Mix                                                                        (optional – I had some leftover from a farmer’s market delivery and figured it would help with some spicy kick)

1 ea.                             Bay leaf

1/4 tsp.                        Savory

1/2 tsp.                         Thyme

1 container                   Butter Beans* (dried or fresh)

1 cup                           Croutons, chopped into1/4″ pieces for garnish

*Wondering how to handle cooking dried beans?  Go to The Kitchn – one of the best instructional direction posts I’ve found for handling beans with the crockpot. 

Directions

1.  Add all ham, spices, vegetables, and sauces to the crockpot.  Pour stock over all of it so it covers ingredients 1/4 inch over to allow for liquid to evaporate during cooking.

2.  Cook on high 4-5 hours or, as I prefer, low and slow for 8 hours.  Depending on the beans you use, you may adjust your time.

3. Served piping hot and sprinkled homemade croutons on the top and bon appeButter Bean Ham Souptit!

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