Tuscan Ham and Bean Soup

It’s hard to beat a sandwich made with leftover ham. Add a little cheese to the mix, and you have something that can be quite special if complemented with a nice condiment such as Dijon mustard.

But there’s a large segment of the population that might disagrees. Especially those people who grew up using the leftover ham in a good bean soup.

You can probably count me in the latter camp, since my dad always made bean soup with our leftover holiday ham. And without a doubt, I’ve rarely had any since that can match his.

I’m hoping to re-create a little of that magic later this week, since we’re having ham for our New Year’s Day dinner. However, I plan on putting a few more potatoes and carrots in my soup than Dad used in his as well as a little Italian seasoning for a Tuscan flair.

The recipe can be made in a pot on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.

Tuscan Ham and Bean Soup
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into fourths (about 3 cups)
4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 15-ounce cans great northern beans, drained, rinsed
3½ cups chicken broth
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1  tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
In 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients except parsley and oil.
Cover: cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
Stir in parsley and oil before serving.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving:  380 calories, 8 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 1,470 milligrams sodium, 50 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams dietary fiber, 27 grams protein, 4 grams sugar.