Knowing that lots of people now own Instant Pots—and didn’t when I originally posted this recipe—I’ve updated the recipe to include IP directions (as well as updated the photos). Don’t worry, the soup itself is just as good as it always has been.
Beans are so good year ’round, but to me, they are especially good in the winter months, and this soup is a good example of why. It’s filling, comforting, thick, warming and nutritious. It’s also an inexpensive recipe to make (a plus after the holidays). Dried beans are a bargain any time, and a leftover ham bone is often hanging around in the freezer or fridge after the holiday feasts. Feel free to add some extra veggies to the soup. Chopped carrots are a natural fit, but you could also stir in chopped kale or spinach leaves toward the end of cooking.
When I make this recipe in the slow cooker I usually soak the beans overnight, but if you pre-soak for 24 hours you can knock off an hour or two from the cooking times (see slow cooker directions). The soup is done when then beans are cooked to the texture you prefer. I like very soft beans and thick soup, hence the longer cook time on this recipe. For a thinner soup or more firm beans, adjust the cooking time down.
For the Instant Pot version you don’t need to pre-soak the beans at all, and the total prep/cooking time will be around 1 1/2 hours (compared to about 12 1/2 hours for the slow cooked version).
- 1 pound dry navy beans, rinsed and picked over (if slow cooking the soup, pre-soak the beans)
- 2 cups chopped celery (plus celery leaves too if you have them)
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- ham bone with a little meat on it
- 2 teaspoons garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2-3 shakes of Tabasco sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups cubed ham (from leftovers or cut from a thick ham steak)
- Place the soaked beans in the bottom of the crock. Top with the chopped celery and onion and garlic.
- Add the ham bone and the spices (pepper, smoked paprika, Tabasco and bay leaf). Pour water over all. Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours.
- Add the cubed ham, cover and continue cooking another 1-2 hours (judge doneness by checking bean softness; if you presoaked the beans for 24 hours, add the beans and cubed ham after 6 hours of cooking, and cook a total of 8-9 hours on LOW).
- Remove the bay leaf and carefully remove the ham bone from the pot.
- Place the ham bone on a cutting board and remove any edible meat from it; chop or shred the meat and add it back to the pot; stir the soup and serve.
- Add the water to the instant pot, then add in the remaining ingredients: beans, celery, onion, seasonings, extra ham and then nestle the ham bone down into the ingredients. Make sure the beans are fully submerged.
- Cover the Instant Pot and lock the lid. Make sure the nozzle on top is set to "Sealing" position. Use the "Manual" button to adjust the time to 45 minutes and make sure your machine is set to "High Pressure."
- When cooking time is done, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then turn the nozzle to "Venting" position to release any remaining pressure.
- Open the lid, remove the bay leaf and carefully remove the ham bone from the pot.
- Place the bone on a cutting board and remove any edible meat from it; chop or shred the meat and add it back to the pot; stir the soup and serve.