Monday Menu: Ham and Bean Soup

I love having soup for lunch when the thermometer starts dipping below 70F.  And it has been, here in Central Illinois, for a couple of weeks now.

The cheapest place to buy soup on campus charges $3.00 for a cup.  And it has an institutional flavor to it even though it is a whole lot tastier than canned soup.  Using my trusty Thermos, however, enables me to have a nice, hot, homemade  soup for about 50¢ a serving.

A few weeks ago, the butcher had a big ol’ ham bone next to the ham hocks for about $5.00.  I had a 1-pound bag of navy beans and another 1-pound bag of long-grain brown rice in my pantry.  All it needed was an onion and some water!  Easy!  Nothing fancy about this soup but, boy, is it good and it made over 10 cups of soup!

One thing I’ve noticed with cookbooks published in the United States prior to the 1950s is that the ingredient list is usually quite simple.  Between The Great Depression and war rationing, homemakers had to “make do” with simple ingredients.  I love that this is a very simple recipe, is budget friendly, and could probably be put into a crockpot and cook all day (I say “probably” because I haven’t replaced the one that was “donated to the arts” a few years back so this soup hasn’t been tested in the crockpot).


1 pound package of dried navy beans
1 Ham bone cut crosswise by butcher
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice


Soak beans according to package directions.

Add ham  and onion to the rehydrated beans.  Add enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until beans, are tender and the meat is falling off of the bone, about 2 hours.

Remove meat from bone, chop and return to pot.

Add  rice and continue cooking for another hour, adding water as needed.


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Dr. Julie-Ann

I'm Dr. Julie-Ann, living life in its Technicolor finest by channeling my Grandma, Donna Reed, and June Cleaver with a bit of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly glamour thrown in for good measure, too. I work outside of the home full-time as a university administrator but I nourish my soul and find my greatest happiness by trying to be the "perfect" 1950s homemaker.

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  1. 1


    I love simple recipes. Yesterday I made “cream of partridge” soup using canned cream of chicken soup and frozen vegetables — all mixed together in a crock pot. Okay — not an old recipe, not entirely from scratch — just simple and nutritious and enough left over for two more meals.

  2. 2

    Dr. Julie-Ann says

    What an interesting name! And, I’ll tell you a secret…tonight I’m making a pot pie using cream of mushroom soup. Sometimes we just have to go with the cream of whatevers!