Stroll into the diner, grab a seat at the counter, and warm yourself over a bowl of soup while the weather nips outside surrounded by friends from the neighborhood. The soup in this beautiful scenario? Neighborhood Bean Soup! This isn’t just any soup; it’s loaded with hearty, creamy, tender beans and bites of savory pork in a bubbling, herbaceous broth. This will warm your toes, your heart, your soul in an instant. That’s the power of Neighborhood Bean Soup.

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  • 2 cups dried great northern beans
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 2-3 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage, rubbed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried savory
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil


Step 1 –Sort the beans and rinse them with cold water.

Step 2 –Place the beans in a Dutch oven and add enough water to cover them by 2 inches.

Step 3 –Bring the beans to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.

Step 4 –Transfer the Dutch oven from the heat and cover, allowing the beans to soak until softened, about 1-4 hours.

Step 5 –Drain and rinse the beans, discarding the liquid.

Step 6 –Return the beans to the pot and add the broth, 3 cups of the water, the ham bone, the bouillon, the thyme, the marjoram, the pepper, the sage, and the savory.

Step 7 –Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

Step 8 –Cover and simmer the soup for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

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Step 9 –In a large skillet, sauté the onions, the carrots, and the celery in the oil until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 10 –Add the onion mixture to the soup.

Step 11 –Cover the soup and let it simmer until the beans are tender, about 45-60 minutes.

Step 12 –Transfer the ham bone from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Step 13 –Skim the fat from the soup.

Step 14 –Remove the meat from the bone and cut it into chunks, before adding the meat to the soup.

Step 15 –Discard the bone.

Step 16 –Serve.