Poor Soup

tf poor soup featureLike the title? That’s what my grandmother, Micky, used to call this soup. The only thing is, the little package of smoked ham hocks I bought for this put me back $7.00, so I’m not so sure it applies any more. Maybe we should call it “Doing Okay if I Can Afford $7 for Ham Hocks” Soup.

I had a hankering for this yesterday. And yes, that’s something else Grandma taught me.


/ˈhæŋkərɪŋ/ [hang-ker-ing]

noun: a longing; craving.

See how many times you can slip that into a conversation today.
A slight warning about this soup: don’t think you’re going to start it in the morning and enjoy it in the evening. That’s because of those ridiculously stubborn beans. Grandma used to start hers in the morning in her Dutch oven on top of the stove and it would boil and bubble all day long, with her adding water as needed … but unless you’ve got all day to babysit a pot of beans, you’re probably going to want to use the crock pot. Which means you want to start this the day BEFORE you’d like to eat it. But I promise … this is truly delicious. And to quote Dorothy Parker, “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”

Poor Soup (a.k.a. Navy Bean Soup)

  • 2 cups small white navy beans, picked over and rinsed
  • enough water to cover the beans about twice over for overnight soaking
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (Grandma used water, but I like chicken broth)
  • a quart of diced tomatoes (probably equivalent to a 28 oz can)
  • 2 big smoked ham hocks
  • 4 big carrots, cut in chunks
  • 4 potatoes, cut in chunks
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • salt and pepper

First, you really must soak these beans before you cook them. I know that in the past I’ve said that I’m not a bean-soaker, but I have to break my own rule for these. That’s because these are unyielding little buggers, and if you don’t get a running jump at them, you might as well forget eating this week. Just put your picked-over, rinsed beans in the crock pot and cover with hot water. Boiling water is even better. Let those soak for a good 3 or 4 hours in the morning (or all day if you’re at work).

Next, drain off the water and add the chicken broth to the crock pot. Here’s what I keep on hand for just such occasions:

I start to feel a little uneasy when I’m down to my last box of this. You never know when a chicken broth emergency might present itself.

Add your tomatoes. I used the second-to-the-last jar of tomatoes I canned last summer. That also makes me feel a little uneasy. The only thing worse than a chicken broth emergency is a diced tomato emergency. But I probably don’t need to tell you that.

Nestle the smoked ham hocks down in the beans and add the garlic and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low overnight.

The next day (otherwise known as “the day you actually get to eat soup” ), add the carrots and potatoes to the pot. Cover and cook on low all day long (10-12 hours). Hopefully, all that cooking and stirring will have conquered those rebellious navy beans and you won’t crack a tooth on them.

Just before serving, scoop out the ham hocks, shred the meat, and return it to the pot.

I hope you try this. Something intense and wonderful happens in all those hours of cooking. You coerce coax as much flavor out of these ingredients that can possibly be coerced coaxed.

The best part is, we’ll be coming home to this after church today. Nice 🙂



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6 Comments on "Poor Soup"

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Anita Scheftner

Oh how I agree with you on the supply of chicken bought 2 cases on the last trip to Costco..will definitely cook this for my family! Do they sell ham hocks? I think they do..mmm..will check it out..because if they do you could smoke them you have a smoker? If you don’t, you need to get one! Mmmmhmmmm….thanks for sharing 🙂

Arline Stone
I also agree on the Kirkland Chicken stock, down to my last box. I use a bean mixture, I might try just the navy beans next time, and always ham hocks or shanks. Del Fox Meats has the very best and also huge, ham shanks. They do custom butchering, like our goats, sorry Shannon, but they also are a meat market. They are near Stanwood, not that far from you. I am so jealous of your home canned tomatoes, I almost had to peek at them through my fingers. I use canned all right, from a can! maybe next year…..
Are tomatoes easy to can? I would love to know how. After just getting over some cancer treatments, and reading that so much of our canned goods can be causing ‘estrogen’ like stuff in our bodies, I am becoming more and more leery and unsure what is safe to eat. Just praying God uses all food to bring health… I just simmered fresh tomatoes and added a few spices, then pureed in food processor recently… froze some of that. But I know there must be a better way. I use canned tomatoes nearly every day… 🙂

Thanks, Shannon – I’ll check that out! I just finished 8 wks of radiation at the end of Nov… still healing from all the stuff that causes. But I am feeling better, declaring God’s healing light 🙂

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