Every year after Christmas, we always have SO MUCH HAM left over! I always make a big pot of cheesy potato and ham soup (tastes just like a loaded baked potato), usually a casserole dish of scalloped potatoes with ham, and always at least two big pots of soupbeans!
Soupbeans is an Appalachian staple in the winter. I’ve heard it called lots of things on various recipe sites: ham and beans, ham-bone beans, etc. They all have the same simple ingredients in them: leftover ham (on the bone is the best!), white beans (navy beans), and an onion. That’s it!
You wouldn’t think that something so simple could have so much flavor, but OH. MY. GOODNESS! This is slap your mama in the mouth good!
When I went to reach for the pot to make this soup, I realized it was in the sink, soaking; I made spaghetti in it the night before and forgot I didn’t wash it yet….and I’m lazy when it comes to washing dishes. I really didn’t want to do it by hand, and I didn’t want to run the dishwasher for half a load, so I went looking for the other big pot………….oops. I forgot that I have been using that big one to hold scraps for the pigs and chickens in the kitchen because it has a nice tight lid (so nothing smelly is in the kitchen when you walk in there) and it is lightweight and easy to carry (nice when it’s full of liquid-y scraps for the pigs and chickens!).
Then, I remembered the Instant Pot. My mom got me this for Christmas, and I’d only cooked in it twice so far, but it impressed me enough on those two occasions that when I deep cleaned the kitchen while on Christmas break from teaching that I gave it a place of honor: its very own counter in the kitchen! This beauty isn’t getting put away any time soon; it’s on my goal list for January to use it several times a week!
I did a quick google search to see how long to pressure cook dry beans, and I was off! In just five minutes, I had it all ready to go and cooking in the Instant Pot (including clean up of the counter – win/win!!).
If you’d like a quick meal, and you have an Instant Pot, you cannot go wrong with soupbeans! Also, this recipe can be adapted to the crockpot by simply letting it cook on high for about three hours and then continue on low for about four hours, or you can adapt it to the stovetop by putting all the ingredients into a large pot, bringing it to a rolling boil for at least 60 minutes, and then add water and reduce the heat to a simmer for several hours to let it cook down and thicken up.
INSTANT POT SOUPBEANS
1 onion, chopped
1 pound navy beans
leftover ham (on the bone is best, but I used about a heaping 2 cup glass measuring cup full of just ham for this one)
Set the Instant Pot to saute. Toss in a little of the grease from the leftover ham (or a touch of bacon grease or a touch of coconut oil or butter – whatever you have on hand).
Once that melts, throw in the chopped onion and let it saute for about two minutes, stirring it a couple of times. Turn off the Instant Pot.
Add the beans, ham, and water (to the Instant Pot maximum fill line).
Put the lid on and set the vent on top to SEAL.
Choose the manual setting, and set it for 40 minutes at high pressure.
Once finished, allow the pressure to release by itself (and make a pan of cornbread to go with the soupbeans – the pair cannot be beat on a cold winter’s evening!). If you’d like the soup a little thicker, simply mash about 1/2 a cup of the beans in a measuring cup and then stir them back into the soupbeans. Alternatively, you can remove the lid once all the steam has vented naturally and turn the Instant Pot to saute. Let it cook until it’s at a full boil, and then turn it to warm until it stops bubbling. Repeat the saute (no lid)/warm rotation three times, stirring between the start of each saute. After the third time, you will find that the soup has thickened quite a bit.
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for 72 hours.