Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crockpot Bean Soup

I walked into my daughter's house to see my grandson's new aquarium and smelled something delicious. The house was neat and clean. My daughter and her fiance were attending an afternoon wine tasting and concert at a nearby winery. My grandson had stayed home to play video games. In a crock pot on the counter, bean soup with ham was bubbling away.

I believe it was the first time my daughter ever made bean soup. She had seen me cooking it a few weeks earlier and asked me how to do it. I had sent home a big bowl of pinto bean soup but I wondered if her picky family would actually eat it. Apparently, they liked it and now she was making her own soup with great northern beans. It is so nice to come home from an outing to a hot meal cooking in the crock pot.

My mother always made bean soup with navy, great northern, or pinto beans. I loved it. She lived in Washington D.C. for a while and told me about the famous Senate Bean Soup. When I married, my mother-in-law also made bean soup. She had a big family and it fed a lot of people. My mother served her soup with corn bread muffins. My mother-in-law always had homemade yeast biscuits. She also served her bean soup with fried potatoes and onions. I thought that seemed too starchy, but the flavors go together beautifully. Fried potatoes are another way to feed a lot of people inexpensively. When I was raising my children, I often made bean soup, rice and cornbread. It was a healthy, filling meal. My husband loved it and I guess the children ate it, though I don't remember it being their favorite.

I always made bean soup in a big pot on the top of the stove like my mother did. I have accidentally burned the soup many times when too much water cooked away. Anyone who has smelled burned beans will remember that smell. I learned to transfer the soup to a different pot without scraping the bottom and could usually save the soup.

One New Year's day, I visited my brother and sister-in-law for traditional black-eyed peas. (Good Luck!) She was cooking her soup in the crock pot! For some reason, I had never thought of that. Water doesn't cook away in a crock pot. I learned that lesson the hard way in the beginning by adding too much water to other dishes and ending up with watery, tasteless roasts and stews. That property of the crock pot works great for beans, though. No more burnt beans!

Anyway, my picky daughter, who describes herself as a carnivore, has added bean soup to her repertoire. That makes me happy.


  1. Mrs. Chatterbox makes white beans with the bone from our traditional Honey Baked ham after Christmas. She also uses a crockpot. She serves this with a splash of vinegar on top, which sounds awful but is delicious.

  2. Vinegar sounds interesting. My father used to put ketchup on top of white bean soup.