Smokey Bean Soup with Ham and Bacon

CATEGORIES: Sara, Soups and Stews

It’s no secret that we love soups around here. And it seems like every year I find one during “soup season” that I just keep making over and over again. Right now, it’s this one. I’ve been wanting to post it for months and with all of the holiday festivities around here it kept getting pushed off. I know ham and bean soup probably doesn’t sound super exciting, but you’ve got to believe me when I tell you how good it is!

This recipe is in honor of my Dad. For as long as I can remember the only soup I’ve ever seen him eat is Bean with Bacon, and he loves it. I’m talking about the condensed kind in the ol’ red and white can. Just the smell of it brings back memories of my childhood and my parents and the house I grew up in. Maybe that’s when last fall on a cold rainy day I found myself craving soup. That soup. My Mom had a horrible accident and I was hundreds of miles away just worrying and stressing and trying to sort through a rush of emotions and memories. Funny how I sat there all curled up and all I wanted was bean with bacon soup- something I hadn’t had in years! Food has a way of conjuring up memories and feelings like nothing else. It’s why every Christmas I still make the same meal that I ate every Christmas morning growing up, and why when I miss Brazil and the people there I make Black Bean Soup, and why when I’m stuffed up and feeling sick I drink hot jello, just like my Mom used to make. Food connects us with our past and has a special way of soothing our souls. Why else do girls all over the world reach out for the Ben and Jerry’s at the first sign of a broken heart?!

Back on that on that cold fall night I sat there awake in bed avoiding stress and unpleasantness by trying to configure a recipe (I tend to cook when I’m under pressure. My college roommates always loved me during finals week!) I wanted the soup to taste smoky, and be creamy, without having lots of calories or artificial smokey ingredients. So it gets the yummy natural flavors from bacon and ham, smoked paprika and just a touch of liquid smoke. And a quick puree instantly turns it from a simmered broth to a rich and creamy meal. Dare I say this may even be Man Soup. You know, the kind that a guy can eat for dinner and not have to have a course of cereal, cold pizza, and chips after because he’s still hungry. Pair it with some warm breadsticks, or a grilled cheese sandwich and you’ve got yourself comfort in a bowl. Hope you love this as much as I do!



  1. Looks creamy and comforting and bacon-y – what more could you ask for in a soup?

    It’s funny, eh, about the food comfort thing? My mom used to make me canned cream of chicken soup on buttered toast, and I still want it whenever I’m lonely or stressed!

  2. I made this last night and two out of three kids loved it… the other, who’s favorite food is bacon, (he’s 6), looked at me as if I ruined his world when I put bacon in the blender!!! It was a great soup and I have some here with me at work today for lunch.

  3. I am laughing at the cereal after dinner. My husband is always getting a bowl of cereal after the kids are in bed because he is still hungry.

    cucumbers and onions soaked in vinegar always remind me of being at my great grandma’s house. She always had a bowl of this in the fridge.

  4. I have to agree about the black bean soup- it’s SO yummy! This recipe also looks delish. Ham and bean soup is one of my favorites from my childhood too. Although it wasn’t Campbell’s- it was made from the leftover ham from Christmas and dry beans and took all day to cook. The smell was the best. For some reason we were and added white vinegar to each bowl just before eating, but it was good! I think this is where my love of all things vinegar-y came from (salt and vinegar potato chips are the best!). I will try your version tonight. I’ve been craving some comfort food today and this look perfect!

  5. Oh, I love your foodie stories Sara. . . I’ve never cried over food – until now.

    This soup DOES look good. I don’t know if I can get over my addiction to your black bean soup just yet though. Whenever I find myself chopping onions for something – it always turns into black bean soup. (ask Nate) MMmmmmm. . .

  6. I’m glad my husband is not the only one that finishes off a home cooked meal with a bowl of cereal! Every time he does that I just have to roll my eyes.

    My favorite food memory is probably Thai Chicken Salad, it’s a family favorite recipe, it’s always the first meal made when a sibling gets home from a mission, or is (in my case) back in town visiting after a long absence.

  7. That is too funny, because the only canned soup MY dad eats is Campbell’s Bean with Bacon! He always doctors it up with some Tabasco and Worcestershire. Seriously, we probably ate it with toast once a week growing up.

    As far as my growing up foods (or other things, hahahaha…), my dad always made us drink baking soda in water when we had upset stomachs. That was gross. I can taste it just thinking about it. I remember the first time I had chicken cacciatore and I thought it was about the best thing in the world (and I still do!) “Omelets” in a Dutch oven. The potatoes and onions that I posted last year. When my mom was alive, she would make Bratwurst and sauerkraut, but I haven’t had that in forever.

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