Recipe Disclaimer: I’m not a chef or a nutritionist/dietitian. I’m just a mom who loves the 21 Day Fix program, and I figure out container counts for some of my favorite foods and share them with all of you!
One of my favorite comfort foods is ham and bean soup. I love ham in general, it’s a great way to feed your family for several meals when you’re on a budget. If you get a ham on the bone, one of your options for using up the leftovers is soup! This soup is not traditional “diet” food (but what does that even mean on the 21 Day Fix??) – it’s usually high in fat and sodium. Canned soup uses a lot of starch, very little ham, and a lot of salt to make it taste ham-y. All of that changes with what is about to follow! It even passes the kid-test in my house – kids that usually don’t like soup at all.
So you start with a bone-in ham. When I made this soup and took pictures, it was a few days after Easter. I had a large spiral-cut ham (the kind that comes with a packet of brown sugar glaze, a packet that promptly went in the garbage). We had a delicious dinner on Easter, breakfast for dinner the night after, sandwiches… and soup!
The soup starts with soaking the beans overnight. Or, if you’re like me and forget to put beans in water overnight, it starts by covering beans with water, placing on the stove and bring them to a boil. Let them boil for about 5 minutes, then turn the temp off, cover and let sit for an hour. Drain, and set the beans aside. Have your yellow container handy for later.
Now we get to the delicious smelling part In the same pot, brown the ham-hock on all sides. Butter is not allowed on the 21 Day Fix, but you do need a fat to brown the meat. You want to avoid coconut oil for this, as the smoke point is too high. You can use a small amount of olive oil (a tablespoon or less – when you divide into servings, the amount will be negligible).
While the meat is browning, chop your veggies. I start with the Holy Trinity of soups – onion, celery and carrot (one green box of each). When the meat is fully browned, drop the chopped veggies in and allow them to soften. If you’re using frozen spinach, add it now. Hold fresh greens until the end. For the record, I love frozen chopped spinach for soups, and I always keep a box in my freezer in case I get the urge to soup something.
When the carrots and celery are soft, add the water, seasoning, bay leaf and beans – measure them with your yellow box into the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
When the timer goes off, carefully remove the ham-hock from the pot and set it on a cutting board – let it cool before handling. Check the beans to see if they are tender. If they aren’t, give them another 30 minutes of simmer time. Mash them gently with a ricer. When the ham is cool enough, chop it up (removing fatty parts) and measure it with your red container into the pot.
Stir in the meat, increase the heat slightly (add any fresh greens now if you want) and cook together for 15-20 more minutes.
To serve: ladle soup into your green box (per Autumn’s instructions in the book). When I measured my soup, I got 12 green boxes. So all my calculations are done by dividing the total ingredients by 12. I think that 2 green boxes makes a hearty soup for a main dish (see the top picture – 2 green boxes-worth in that bowl); if you’re having it alongside a sandwich or salad, stick with one box. If you have 2, remember to double your container counts!
Annie was really mad that she didn’t get any of this soup. She thinks it’s really unfair to have to smell ham cooking so many days and not get any. Meanest dog-mom EVER. Also, mean to call her over for a picture and not have a piece of ham ready.
This soup just gets better when it sits in the fridge (although if it will be more than 4 or 5 days, stick it into the freezer). It also thickens as it stands, so add water if necessary to bring it to your preference.
Select and print this part:
Celery, chopped – 1 box
Onion, chopped – 1 box
Carrot, chopped – 1 box
Spinach (frozen chopped, or fresh) – 2 boxes worth
2 Cups white, navy or Great Northern beans – 8-9 boxes after soaking
Leftover ham-hock, browned and chopped – 12 boxes
4 cups water
1-2 tsp 21DF Multipurpose Seasoning
1 bay leaf
Prep: Overnight or 1 hour; Cook: About 2 hours
Soak beans overnight, or place beans in pot and bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat off. Cover and let sit on burner for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
Brown ham-hock in 1 Tbsp olive oil. When meat is browned on all sides, add chopped celery, onion and carrot and frozen spinach (if using fresh, hold until later). When the veggies are soft, add water, seasoning and bay leaf. Measure beans into pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove ham-hocks and cool before handling. If beans are not yet tender, allow to simmer for another 30 minutes. When beans are tender, mash them slightly. When ham is cool, chop the meat, remove fatty portions, and measure into pot. Stir, increase heat slightly (add fresh greens if desired) and cook an additional 15-20 minutes.
Ladle soup into green box – each green box measurement gives you:
.5 green, .75 yellow, 1 red