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Rustic Ham and Bean Soup • Family and Farming

Rustic Ham and Bean Soup

Who isn’t cold and hungry right now? This Rustic Ham & 15 Bean Soup is a better than the back of the bag recipe that is not only thrifty, but also tastes good. I do have some hacks to the basic recipe to increase flavor and make you want to lick your bowl. This soup does require soaking the beans the night before, so plan accordingly!

One note. There are some of you who would prefer using an Instant Pot. You can. But I far prefer making this Rustic Ham & 15 Bean Soup on the stove. It takes more time, but this method creates a much better flavor. If you’re looking for another great bean recipe, you can’t go wrong with this Randall Bean Bake.

Some ingredients might be things you’ve never seen or used. Perhaps you’ve never encountered 15 Bean Soup Beans or a Smoked Ham Shank. This is Rustic cooking! (Think Grandma or Great Grandma!)

Rustic Ham & 15 Bean Soup

  • Tools You’ll Need:
  • Soup pot
  • Colander
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Knife and Cutting Board

This recipe is slightly different than the back of the bag. I’ll discuss the changes made in the Cooking Notes. This recipe makes a large amount that can feed a large crowd or you can freeze for later meals. The next-day flavor is even better!

  • Ingredients for Rustic Ham & 15 Bean Soup
  • 1 bag Hurst’s 15 Bean Soup Beans
  • 1 onion
  • 2 boxes (32 oz each) turkey or chicken broth (total of 64 oz)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes –(fire roasted is best)
  • 1 T chili powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ham shank
  • 1-pound rustic ham chopped into pieces
  • Flavor packet inside of the bag of beans
  • 2 C spinach (Optional)-Read Cooking Notes
  • If you’d prefer a vegetarian version, omit the ham, and use vegetable broth.

Rustic Ham & 15 Bean Soup Directions:

  • The night before, dump the bag of beans into a colander and rinse them really well. You don’t want to skip this step.
  • Then, dump the beans into your soup pot and cover with water at least 1-2 inches higher than the beans. Let them soak overnight.
  • The next day, dump the beans into the colander again and drain. Rinse one more time.
  • Add the beans back to the pot, add turkey or chicken broth, onion, ham and ham shank.
  • Bring the pot to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer covered for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.
  • After the 2-hour simmer, add tomatoes, chili powder, lemon juice and garlic. Simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes.
  • Right before serving, remove ham shank and scrape off the meat on the bone back into soup. Discard bone. (We leave them out in our fields for the bald eagles who nest on our farm.)
  • Add the ham flavor packet to the soup.

Serve with a crusty bread. Enjoy!

Rustic Ham & 15 Bean Soup Cooking Notes:

Some of you may be asking “What is a Ham Shank?” It’s the left-over stuff from butchering. Just as bone broth is making a comeback, rustic cooking is also having a moment. If your butcher gives you a quizzical look, say “Ham Hock”. That might ring a bell. If you can’t find a ham shank, just use 2 pounds of rustic ham. It will all work out.

You don’t want to skimp on flavor. Pick up a pound of Classic Ham, or what I like to call, “Christmas Ham”. (It’s not as finished as the ham you use for ham sandwiches.) The best time to pick this up is AFTER Christmas or Thanksgiving. My local grocery store practically gives them away in the after-holiday season. I got a five-pound rustic ham for $12. Deal! I cut it up into one-pound chunks to freeze for five batches of this soup over the winter. If you’d rather, use two ham shanks instead adding the one pound of rustic ham.

You may not be able to find turkey broth outside of the holidays. You can substitute chicken broth. Just don’t use water. It makes for a watery soup. No one likes watery soup.

I also upped the chili powder on the back of the bag recipe from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. One teaspoon is not enough flavor. I also increased the onion from 1 Cup to 1 whole onion for the same reason.

Set the timer on your phone and be sure to stir the soup every 20 minutes.

If you want, you can throw spinach in the final simmer, but I do want to caution you on this move. While not adverse to spinach, I do want to caution you if you want to freeze this soup, or have it later in the week as left-overs, as the spinach will get a wee bit “wilt-y”. I would instead add spinach individually to each bowl while the soup is hot.

In case you’re wondering what a “Rustic Ham” looks like. This is it. Rustic Ham has more texture than a more commercially processed ham. You probably don’t want a sixteen pound ham. Search for something smaller!
Ham shanks are VERY rustic! They are much cheaper than a rustic-style ham, but there’s much less meat, and lots of bone. If you can’t afford a rustic ham, use two ham shanks. They will impart flavor and some meat to your soup. My bald eagles would like this move!

Be Blessed!

Love to hear what you think!