Looking for the best black bean soup? Search no further. My Smoky Black Bean Ham Soup is thick and meaty and loaded with extras like fire roasted hatch chiles, diced tomatoes and jalapenos. Top this ham hock and beans recipe with all your favorites, like queso fresco, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. This ham bone bean soup recipe is perfect for cool days.
I don’t know about you, but during the holidays my refrigerator was so jam-packed that it was like a game of Tetris — stacking Tupperware containers, trying to make room for new dishes while carefully extracting others. Sound familiar?
The leftover with the greatest yield was a ham. I had been been staring at the remains of this smoked pork for the better part of 5 days, cutting off slices and chunks here and there to serve with leftover sweet potatoes for a quick dinner, with quiche for an easy breakfast, and in these angel flake ham biscuits, which I made far too many of. I was finally getting to my favorite part of the ham — the bone – THE essential ingredient for a ham bone and bean soup, don’t you think?
Ham Bone or Ham Hock and Beans Recipe
To me, a ham bone is the jumping off point for any number of soups — vegetable, white bean, split pea you name it. Heck, just by covering the bone with water and letting it simmer for a few hours, you can achieve a broth that can be used in any number of dishes. If you don’t have a ham bone, many grocers will sell a ham hock — it has less meat than a leftover ham bone, but will add big flavor to your broth. Supplement the ham hock and beans recipe with a ham steak, cut into bite-sized cubes.
How To Make Black Bean Ham Soup
- Place the black beans in a large pot and sift through the legumes with your fingers.
- Remove any damaged beans or other foreign detritus, like pebbles or stones.
- Fill the pot with cold water so that it’s about 2″ above the beans.
- Cover the pot and let it sit 8 hours or overnight (or use the quick soak method).
- The next day, drain the beans in a colander and set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, sauté the vegetables until tender, then add the ham bone, beans, chiles and water.
- Add the ham bone or ham hock.
- Bring the pot to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender — about 1 1/2 hours
- While the beans are cooking saute the garlic and jalapeno. Stir in the cumin and onion powder and cook until fragrant and toasty. Set aside.
- When beans are tender remove the ham bone and let it rest until it’s cool enough to handle. Then trim any remaining meat from the bone.
- Add the diced ham and trimmed ham to the beans along with the jalapeño mixture and tomatoes.
- Simmer for 20 minutes until the flavors marry and adjust seasonings to your tastes.
Though this ham bone and bean soup is awesome on its own, it’s even better with a few fresh toppings sprinkled on just before eating. I’d say everything except the squeeze of lime are optional — but trust me, you want that squeeze of lime. That hint of citrus turns this from a standard ham bone and bean soup to the best black bean soup ever.
This makes a BIG pot of the best black bean soup! Chunky, rich, thick and satisfying, it’s a ham hock and beans recipe with staying power. It makes a hearty filling dinner with a green salad. So much so, that my diners went back for seconds (and thirds). The scant leftovers were promptly claimed for lunch the following day.
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Smoky Ham and Black Bean Soup
- 1 16 oz. package dried black beans
- 10 cups water divided
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 bell pepper I used a yellow pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup fire roasted hatch chiles diced, optional
- 1 leftover ham bone
- 1 1/2 cups diced ham
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 jalapeño diced (seeds & membranes make it hotter - so if you like it spicier, leave them in)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- lime wedges
- queso fresco crumbled
- sour cream
- green onions diced
- In a pot, add the dried beans. Sift through them with your fingers to remove any debris or stones. Add three cups water to cover beans. Soak the beans overnight.
- The next day, drain the beans and set aside.
- In a heavy dutch oven, add two tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the celery, bell pepper, onion and carrot for five minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
To the vegetables, add the beans, bay leaves, hatch chiles and ham bone and 7 cups water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until beans are tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add jalapeño and garlic and sauté for one -two minutes, until tender and fragrant.
Add cumin and onion powder to garlic mixture about a minute, until cumin smells toasty. Remove from heat.
Using tongs, remove ham bone from the soup. Remove any loose meat from the bone to go back into the soup. Discard the bone.
Add diced ham, garlic mixture, tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Stir to combine, simmer, covered for 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. Serve with your choice of toppings.
I serve this with little condiment bowls filled with garnish and let everyone finish their soup with their favorite toppings.
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