Here at gThankYou, we’re big fans of soup, ham and bean soups in particular. Pity we’re heading out of what I consider prime soup season. Before grilling season takes hold, however, I offer this humble homage to simple, versatile and satisfying ham and bean soups in this installment of Recipe of the Week.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMJeaZtgwng]
Soup is the reason I prefer bone-in hams. There’s a good reason why so much meat clings to those bones. It just begs to be made into soup! In its recipe for Ham Stock Epicurious says a shank will yield a meatier broth base. But I’ve had good results with all types. And if you need a pot of ham and bean soup and have no bone, you can always throw in a ham hock and get a great flavor, too.
Growing up, my mom always made Split Pea with Ham soup after our big holiday meal. In my mind, it remains the best  ham and bean soup. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of cooking plenty of other varieties, too. Here’s a sampling of what’s out there, plus some good, basic references:

Perhaps my favorite reason for cooking ham and bean soups is that it’s actually better to make it ahead. The soup freezes well and actually develops more flavor if you serve it the next day (or day after) it is made. Enjoy a pot today, or tomorrow.

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