Tuscan Crock Pot (Or Not) Smoked Virginia Ham, White Bean & Potato Soup with Thyme

Ham & Bean soup

It’s Soup Weather!! Warm, scrumptious and satisfying to the soul. This hearty concoction (with a touch of northern Italian influence) can be prepared either stove-top or in a crock pot. Full of fresh root veggies and their wonderful, crisp Autumn flavors. The fundamental essences are even more incredible dished up the next day. I serve it with fresh crusty bread and a side salad. The bread you see is my cottage cheese bread—one of the lightest, most flavorful recipes for bread available. Recipe forthcoming.


1 lb dried navy beans (or 2 cans rinsed & drained)

1 large smoked ham hock

1 cup chopped ham

7 garlic cloves, minced

3 carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 large onion, chopped

3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

5 cups water, to cover all contents

Best Baked


Sort, wash and soak beans overnight. *Or use the quick soak method—see note. Drain, rinse and put in the crock pot, stirring in all of the remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover all ingredients, typically almost to the top of the pot. Watch the salt addition, I add sparingly to balance for the ham hock and the additional diced ham. Cover crock pot, cook on high for 3 hours, turn to low for 6 hours or more. I remove the ham hock, cut the meat off, cutting away the fat in the process and place remaining meat back into the pot.

*Quick soak method: place dry beans in a large pot. Fill with water just enough to cover. Bring to a boil, boil for 2-3 minutes. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.


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