Ham and Great Northern Bean Soup

The word “blizzard” has been tossed about in the northwest today. The wind is wildly dancing outside and it is likely that we will get a mix of rain, wind, and snow for a few days. The media shall stir things up worse than the mighty wind and midwestern relatives will call to be sure we’re okay. We will tell them we have 2 inches of snow and they will laugh and the world will be okay again. Hot soup is the only remedy.

Ham & Great Northern Bean Soup Recipe


  • 1 pound great northern beans, picked over, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups water for soaking + 7 cups water for cooking
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large smoked ham hocks, (or 1 pound smoked ham, shredded or diced)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place beans and 6 cups of water in a large bowl. Discard any beans that float to the top of the water. Soak overnight (or 7-8 hours).

After soaking time is done, drain beans and set aside.

Braise ham hocks in olive oil over medium high heat on all sides (skip this step if not using ham hocks). Remove ham hocks from heat and set aside. Place chopped onion into remaining olive oil and cook until onions are golden or somewhat translucent. Add minced garlic if desired.

Pour about seven cups of water into the pot with onions. Add beans then ham hocks (or ham) back into the pan as well.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about an hour. Add celery and carrots. Add salt & pepper to taste. Cook for another 30-60 minutes – until done. If using ham hocks, remove and allow to cool to the touch. Remove ham from them and place ham pieces back into the soup.

Yes, we Seattlites will never make friends with the snow. Soup, on the other hand, well, it makes everything okay. Add corn muffins smothered in honey butter and blizzard? What blizzard?

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