Slow Cooker Ham and Great Northern Bean Soup

This is one of my favorite soups – it is easy to make, can be done in the slow cooker, tastes absolutely delicious (the boys will literally lick their bowls), freezes well, and uses up left overs.  What else can you ask for?  I like it thick and creamy, but of course I don’t like to actually use cream, so I use my handy immersion blender (seriously if you don’t have one – get one – they’re fantastic) to blend up about half of it.  Because the beans and potatoes in there are nice and starchy it really just gives the right consistency to the soup.  I know it sounds weird, but trust me – it works.   I make this anytime we’ve made a big ham (pretty much any holiday)  – but you don’t have to wait until the holidays to make it!

Ingredients

2 cans Great Northern beans (you can easily substitute Cannellini)  – drained and rinsed

3-4 cups chicken broth

~ 1 ½ pounds left over ham, chopped, plus the bone (if you don’t have the bone, don’t worry, it will still be good.  And if you don’t have left overs – just buy a ham steak at the grocery store – also still good.)

T TBSP thyme

1 small onion – diced

2-3 ribs celery – chopped 

3 carrots – chopped small

4-5 small-medium sized white wax potatoes – quartered (you can really substitute any potato you have on hand – but if you use baking potatoes, don’t forget to peel them!)

2-3 cloves garlic, diced

Salt and pepper

Directions

  • Trim any excess fat off of the ham
  • Add ham (and bone if using), beans, onion, garlic, celery, carrots and potatoes to slow cooker
  • Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour chicken broth in to cover
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours
  • Adjust seasoning and remove bone
  • If you want it to be broth based – serve now
  • If you want it to be thick and creamy, use an immersion blender to carefully (remember, it’s a vat of hot liquid) blend about 1/3 – 1/2 of the soup until it reaches the preferred thickness, and stir well (alternatively, if you don’t own an immersion blender, you can remove about 1/3 of the soup and put it in a blender – but don’t forget to take the stopper out of the top before blending!). 
  • Serve with fresh bread
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