The Country Cook: Slow Cooker Soup Beans and Ham

Monday, October 31, 2011

Slow Cooker Soup Beans and Ham

Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more, well, you know. In the mountains of the South, soup beans are a very common meal. It is particularly popular in the regions around the Appalachian Mountains (where I live). Now, it's not to be confused with bean soup. It refers to pinto or other brown dried beans cooked with smoked pork as flavoring. Soup beans are usually served with cornbread and are considered a main course but can also serve as a side dish. In rural areas, where food was scarce during the winter, these beans were a staple food. I've modernized this recipe a bit by using a slow cooker and some convenience items. And the nice thing about this recipe is you don't have to go searching for a ham hock or ham shanks (my personal fave) to purchase.  Unless, of course, you're like me and have two legs that can be confused with ham hocks. But I digress...Ham hocks and shanks are readily available in many regions in the South but I know in other parts of the U.S., they can be pretty hard to find. So, you get all the wonderful taste but not a lot of prep work.
4 (15oz.) cans pinto beans
1 packet ham concentrate
1 package of cubed ham (or leftover chopped ham)
You can see I pick up cans of pinto beans whenever they are on sale, so I usually end up with all different brands.

Ham concentrate can usually be found in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store. Usually near the Latin foods. Also, you may be able to find a product called Ham Base. It is usually located down the soup aisle, near the chicken and beef broth. You can also use that for ham flavoring (about a teaspoon.)
Take all the ingredients and combine in your slow cooker. Give it all a good stir and cover. Set on low for about 6-8 hours. Everything in here is already precooked. So you're really just giving the flavors a chance to meld and for the beans to take on that yummy ham flavor.
Make some cornbread and serve! It's that easy! A filling and budget-friendly meal.


  1. Oh, I bet this makes the house smell fabulous! Great recipe, Brandie...and still giggling about the visual with you having ham hocks for legs :) I.don'!

  2. This looks wonderful, so flavorful and hearty for a cold Halloween night. I will have to look for the Ham Goya packet.

  3. That looks so good! My mom used to make it with sharp cheddar cheese cubes stirred into it. Nowadays, we just serve it with cheese and onions sprinkled on top with a hearty helping of cornbread on the side.

  4. That is my kind of dinner on a cold fall day. Thanks for sharing that one!

  5. I have this in the crock pot for dinner tonight, except I use dried pinto beans. Of course, we'll have the cornbread to go with them, but we also have fried potatoes. Yummy comfort at it's best!!!!

  6. This looks like the perfect Fall dinner with the ham and beans in the slow cooker! Yum! I have never seen the ham concentrate either. Have to got shopping.

  7. This is comfort food at its finest. Make sure you take beano before you eat it! LOL. Thanks for sharing.

  8. My husband loves soup beans, fried potatoes and cornbread. Our families are from Kentucky and it is a staple there, but we do not use pinto beans from a can, we cook the dry beans. We also use Great Northern beans as well if we want white beans. I love to put dill pickle juice on my fried potatoes-divine.

  9. Beans (with or without ham), fried potatoes, corn bread - this was a daily staple in our home. I grew up with six siblings in a poor Midwest household. We sometimes had it for lunch as well as supper - for days and days. If times were plentiful, we had the beans WITH ham. Now that I am in my early 60' - ham and beans with cornbread is a comfort food that takes my mind back to Mom and Daddy and my childhood.


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