1cupcarrotscut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 to 4 medium carrots)
1cupcelerycut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 stalks)
2clovesgarlicminced (about 2 teaspoons)
1meaty ham boneor swap 1 pound cooked diced or shredded leftover ham, about 2 1/2 cups diced/shredded
4cupsunsalted chicken stock, beef broth, or vegetable brothbe SURE to use unsalted
2cupswaterplus additional as needed
1(15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in their juices
3/4poundnew potatoes or Yukon gold potatoescut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/3 cup), optional
1/4teaspoonground black pepperplus additional to taste
2largesprigs fresh rosemary or a small bundle of fresh thyme or a mix of the two
1tablespoonred wine vinegar
1cuppeasfresh or frozen
Kosher saltto taste; the amount you need, if any at all, will vary based on the saltiness of your ham bone
Rinse and drain the beans. Pick through and remove any unwanted bits of debris. Place in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is hot (but not yet smoking), add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the onion is turning translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Transfer to the slow cooker with the beans.
To the slow cooker, add the ham bone (or diced or shredded ham), stock, 2 cups water, tomatoes, potatoes, bay leaf, smoked paprika, chili powder, black pepper, and rosemary or thyme. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the beans are tender.
Once the soup is cooked, remove and discard the bay leaf and rosemary or thyme (the herb leaves will mostly have fallen off, so it will likely just be the stems left to remove, which is perfect). If using a hambone, remove it from the soup and shred or chop any meat left on it, then stir the meat back into the pot. Stir in the red wine vinegar and peas. If you like a thinner soup, add additional water until you reach your desired consistency.
Taste the soup. Depending upon how salty your ham is, you may need to season it (or you may not need to add any salt at all). If the soup tastes flat, add kosher salt a pinch or two at a time until you are happy with the seasoning. It should taste flavorful and savory, but stop before it gets too salty (you can always sprinkle a little extra salt on your soup bowl if you are worried about oversalting the whole batch). Enjoy hot.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat with a splash of water or chicken broth to thin the soup if it becomes too thick.
For tips to make this soup with canned beans, see the blog post above.