Cold Day Bean Soup

Serves six

bean soup

Soup and my favorite shawl, two perfect items on a day like today.


  • 1 ½ lbs. smoked ham hocks
  • 1 lb. package small white beans
  • 3 sliced carrots
  • stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 med. onions, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • whole peppercorns (about 14)
  • water to cover
  • salt and pepper to taste


Put everything (except salt and pepper to taste) into a soup pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 3-4 hours, stirring every so often.  It will get very thick, add water if necessary.  After two hours or so, remove the ham hocks from the soup, cool them.  Cut the meat off the bone, discard the fat, return meat and bones to the pot to finish cooking time.  When you’re ready to serve, remove the bones and bay leaves, stir in salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Bean Soup

Adios dear Girlfriends . . . I hope you’re keeping warm!

Bubbling bean soup

14 Responses to Cold Day Bean Soup

  1. Jackie says:

    Dear Susan,

    After seeing picture of you during snowstorm making your famous bean soup this week, I had to get the recipe and make it for this weekend (football playoffs!!!). Thought you should know that the above recipe does not tell us how much celery to use (it does in the book however), and the same holds true for what you had on your blog posting this week (no amount for celery and also water to cover and peppercorns were not in written recipe). But I now have all the information and have noted on my copy of recipe since I can’t find my book which is hiding around here somewhere! Thought you would like to know….

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I somehow left off the 3 for the stalks of celery. And I just did the peppercorns for the first time this last time I made it…liked the little crunch and they aren’t peppery after cooking for four hours. Thank you Jackie! I hope you were able to make it still.

  2. Julie Miller says:

    Hi Susan,
    just ordered your pocket calendar and A Fine Romance. I’m a true fan and follow
    your blogs and recipes. My spouse brought home your summer book and I have been hooked on your books and recipes for years now. Thank you for sharing yourself, trips, gifts and talents with the rest of us. You are truly a bright spot in our lives.
    Now I want to take trains and ships and more trips to England.

  3. Kathleen Hirst-Avon, New York says:

    Sunday afternoon and I’m making your bean soup. The house smells like heaven!
    Thank you for the recipe. So sorry to hear about Iris. She had such a sweet face. It’s always so sad when we lose a special friend. Thank you Susan for all your wonderful stories.

  4. Charisse says:

    Made soup today and it was delicious! Thanks for the inspiration and recipe.


    Happy Anniversary. Thanks this made me smile

  6. Margie says:

    Is the bean soup recipe in Girlfeiends Forever? I can’t eat meat so I wonder what a good substitution would be? Thanks for your beautiful snow pictures. Love lobster, torture! ♥️

    • sbranch says:

      I would add flavor with a quarter tsp. of cayenne pepper and 2 cloves of minced garlic. I would also precook the onions, brown them for a very long time in butter so they are extra flavorful and caramelized. That should do it.

  7. Penny 🌹 says:

    Love your healthful eating 👍 ! And your sweet Valentine ‘s for Joe we’re adorable ❤️.
    I’m going to try the stuffed sweet potato 🍠 for sure . Definitely will make those white navy beans for my husband Thursday – perfect for a snowy day !
    Thankful to your continued inspiration 💕.

  8. trudy farmer-troutman says:

    Love and look forward to all your blogs but this one was exactly what I needed. How did you know? You have truly given me the impetus if that is the right word to start paying attention to what I am eating before it’s too late. Thank you, sweet lady, for your stories and sharing your extraordinary ordinary life. I send love and blessings from Cambria, CA

  9. Mary Wendt says:

    Your choices are very good choices. I have Hashimotos so I have gone gluten free and eat like you. It does help with pain. Also, you just feel better about yourself. My husband enjoys it most of the time. He loves fresh bread though! Too bad we wait so late in life to take care of ourselves! You are truly an inspiration Susan!

  10. Mary Wendt says:

    Forgot to tell you I made your split pea soup. It was so good I made a batch for my folks too! Yummm!

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