Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro, Melanie J. Clarke
8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup, 1 tablespoon cheese, and 1 tablespoon cilantro)

This filling soup makes good use of leftover ham. Pair with fresh bread for a complete meal.

How to Make It

Step 1

Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Step 2

Combine beans, broth, and next 8 ingredients (broth through garlic) in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Partially cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

Step 3

Stir in tomatoes and chile; simmer 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and chile. Ladle soup into 8 bowls. Top with cheese; sprinkle with cilantro.

Ratings & Reviews

A Winning Recipe

December 08, 2016
This is a special tasting recipe, especially with a chipotle chile.  It gets rave reviews when I serve it to company.  I do like to add extra ham, which  I brown first for a deeper flavor.  When I make this for just myself I usually use 2 cans of pinto beans, but the flavor suffers a little bit.  I also mash some of the beans for a thicker broth.  (Sometimes I just add 1/3 cup canned refried beans, which  also does the trick.)  To make up for the extra meat and beans, I add a tad more of each of the seasonings.

Jazzy1's Review

January 30, 2013
I thought this was quite good and flavorful. I, only, added a little water, so mine did not come out too thin. I did not use the chili. I substituted ground chipotle powder, so it did not turn out too spicy. It was a great use of leftover ham.

carliesohayda's Review

October 09, 2012
I made it and it was delicious, except way way way too spicy. I would suggest severely cutting back on the chili powder. It burned the back of our throats.

NghtSkyyStarz's Review

May 21, 2012
Good use of left over ham after the holidays!

Cookingnskiing's Review

April 01, 2012
good recipe. Used chipotle powder instead of chile powder.

karenfar's Review

January 10, 2011
I Made half this recipe for my husband and I. A very tasty and quite simple soup. I did not add the water and it didn't need it. I used 1/2 of a chipotle chile in adobo and that was plenty to kick it up. The ham steak I bought was 6 ounces so I used it all. I also added all of 3/4 can of diced tomatoes that I had in the freezer.

marlies77's Review

February 01, 2010

crazy4sushi's Review

January 06, 2010
Good base recipe. Nothing to exciting. Not sure if I would make it again. I used chipotles in the can. I did not add the extra water. I added a bottle of beer instead.

BonnieLou's Review

March 24, 2009
Tried this for the first time based on reviews -- it is a good recipe -- easy (although takes several hours to cook) filling and healthy. It makes a big pot of soup. I also used a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce -- just chopped it and added, because I always have them in the freezer. When I bring for lunch I add a 1/2 cup of cooked spinach for a complete meal.

MThead4Real's Review

January 17, 2009
Wow this was good. I used Canadian bacon, which I had on hand and fire roasted tomatoes. it was a real hit and I'll make again.