This stew makes an excellent winter meal, hearty and full of flavor, and is especially good when served over creamy polenta. It's also a great way to use up leftover ham, which we always end up with when we buy one of those spiral cut hams.I like to make this stew in the crockpot, where it cooks long and slow while do other things, but you can also make it on the stove. If you plan to cook it on the stove, consider soaking the beans overnight in salted water. Rinse them well before adding them to the pot.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours, 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 6-8.
- 3-4 cups diced smoked ham (or 1 ham hock plus 1 cup diced ham)
- 3-4 celery stalks
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound dried white beans (navy or northern)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Peel the carrots and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the celery into 1/2-inch pieces as well. Peel and dice the onion.
- Place the olive oil in a large soup pot (or heavy skillet if you plan to use the slow cooker). Add the onions and cook over medium heat until onions are soft, fragrant and translucent.
- Add the chopped carrots and celery to the onions, along with the garlic powder, onion powder, and chile powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the diced ham and sauté with the vegetables until ham is lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste.
- If using the slow cooker: transfer the vegetables and ham from the skillet to the slow cooker. Rinse the dried beans with water and add to the slow cooker along with the vegetables. Add the chicken stock and water (and ham hock if using). Set slow cooker temperature to low, cover, and cook for 6-8 hours, or until beans are tender and stew has thickened. Taste stew for seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If cooking the stew on the stove: Add the chicken broth and the water to the pot with the vegetables, along with the beans and the ham hock (if using). Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, and cover and cook for about an hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer stew until beans are tender and stew has thickened, adding more water if needed. Taste stew for seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve stew with creamy polenta, and garnish with chopped parsley.