Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup is a family favorite budget friendly recipe. Using leftover ham hock from New Year’s (or Easter if it’s vacuum sealed) an inexpensive bag of Navy beans, and you’ve got a delicious and hearty meal for your family.
We had this soup all the time growing up. Dad instilled in us the need to use any and all parts of the ham bone. Be it a country ham or a spiral sliced ham. Either one makes the most amazing bean soup. However, I’m sure most of you don’t have a country ham hock in your freezer. Actually, I don’t either. I haven’t made a country ham in forever.
This recipe sparked a rather interesting conversation on a game that I play on my phone. Most on there know I cook. Some know I’m a food blogger, but most don’t. I just commented on a conversation about what we were having for dinner.
“Ham and bean soup for dinner!”
Then conversations ensued about grandma’s cooking. How it was much better than anyone’s. She made the best bean soup, biscuits and gravy, chicken and dumplings, breakfast in general. Grandma always had that can of bacon grease or lard that made everything taste so much better. When I was growing up, we sort of did the same thing. But it slowly went away throughout the years.
It was interesting to me how the mention of one bowl of soup could spur up such nostalgia. That’s what bean soup does for me, too. I remember it simmering on the stove for hours on end. Sometimes we’d serve it with cornbread. And then there’s Dad who always ate raw onion with his soup. I’m not sure why, but I guess that’s how he was raised.
I can’t even find that it’s a southern thing on Google.
Instant pot ham and bean soup is best made with country ham. That slightly salty ham makes for the most amazing flavor in this soup. It’s what I grew up with until Honeybaked hams showed up in the area. Then we were all about the spiral sliced ham. Not long after that, they started showing up in the grocery store. I don’t think we’ve had a country ham since then.
Now, you could easily just use ham and not a ham hock, but you’re going to miss all that delicious goodness from the ham bone. What’s in there? Well, there’s the collagen and marrow in the bone that makes the broth super rich and delicious. Not to mention some of it has actual health benefits! Especially the collagen part. It helps with nail and hair growth.
I always shop the holiday sales for hams. Easter and New Years are the best times to find them on sale. You can sperate the slices from the bone and freeze both separately. You could make ham and cheese enchiladas or these delicious crab stuffed ham rolls. There are so many things you can with ham that is budget friendly.
And this soup is so budget friendly! A bag of Navy beans is about $2. I used 2 stalks of celery and 1 large carrot. Those are probably pennies I’m guessing. Then there’s the onion, which I know is pennies! Spices you probably have in your pantry and water. Of course, you could use broth if you want, but make sure it’s a low sodium broth. Beans will absorb ALL THE SALT if you’re not careful.
So it’s just the initial purchase of the ham that might be “expensive” but we always have ham at New Year’s and Easter. So, there’s at least one hock in the freezer at any given point in time. And that ham was purchased for another meal. If you’re like me, you won’t count that as part of the meal, but you could if you wanted to.
You don’t have to use Navy beans. You can use split peas or black beans. I have these beans that look like a Holstein. I can’t remember what they’re called, but I almost used those for this soup. I thought it might make for an interesting looking soup. But, that bag of Navy beans was calling to me. You will probably see those other beans pop up in another recipe.
I’m going to insert a snippet of real life here.
I have no job. My job ended. It was a term position sort of like a political term. Except this time around I didn’t have the opportunity to apply for my job like I did in the past. This is all made even worse by the government shut down. I haven’t received my final paycheck. And I can’t get the job I wanted because that agency is part of the shutdown.
Actually, since I have the most amount of experience in Government finance, any position I wanted might be on hold until this insanity is over. And, the funny part is, I didn’t expect my leaving that job to go smoothly. Something in the deep dark recesses of my brain just knew the shit would hit the fan and all hell would break loose when I left.
Life is rough. So, there will be a lot of budget friendly meals. I will be cooking from the pantry and the freezer more until this is over. Then, it might not go back to business as usual. Depending on the job and the amount of the salary, we might be budget friendly for a while. Of course, if I get the job I REALLY want, it wouldn’t be an issue because they’d pay me my current rate or at least close to it.
So, there’s my life in a nutshell right now. It sucks.
Well, it doesn’t suck TOO much. I get to eat delicious soup like this. A recipe that I haven’t had in forever! I’m talking years. And I don’t even know why because it’s so comforting, budget friendly, and delicious. So much flavor in one bowl just brings me back home to my childhood in an instant.
The ham and the bone makes the most rich and delicious broth. And it congeals in the fridge which means the collagen has released from the hock. Did you know that? If you’ve made a broth and it congeals in the fridge, that means the delicious collagen has saturated the broth making it so delicious!
You can see all the rich and delicious flavors in this bowl of soup. The carrots, celery, onion, ham and beans all combine to make a bowl full of hearty goodness. Hearty goodness that is pretty cheap to make. And the best part is it doesn’t even taste like it’s cheap.
There’s quite a few yummy soup, stew, and chili recipes from the group this week. Make sure you check out what they’re dishing up this week. Excuse me while I dish up another bowl of comfort!
Instant Post Ham and Bean Soup is a family favorite budget friendly recipe. Using leftover ham hock from New Year’s (or Easter if it’s vacuum sealed) an inexpensive bag of Navy beans, and you’ve got a delicious and hearty meal for your family.
- 1 pound bag Navy beans
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 ham hock (about 6 to 7 inches long with meat attached)
- 2 cups chopped ham
- 6 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste (I add salt and pepper after the beans have cooked.)
- Place the beans in a large mixing bowl and cover with water. Soak for 6 hours.
- Set your pressure cooker or Instant Pot to brown. Once the cooker is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Sauté the vegetables for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and put the lid on top; making sure to turn the valve to seal the cooker. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow the soup to naturally release its pressure; at least 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the hock from the cooker and let it cool enough to handle. Pull the excess ham off the bone and shred it before adding it back into the pot.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with corned bread, raw onion (like Dad) or a good crusty bread
You could quick cook the beans instead of soaking them if you want. Place 2 cups of beans in the pressure cooker along with 8 cups of water. Cook for 8 minutes on high and slow release the pressure. Drain and set aside.
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