Leftover baked ham gives this delightful and cozy white bean and escarole soup lots of heft and rich flavor. A bit of fresh rosemary and sage give it just the right amount of herby essence.

I make so many variations of this soup because it’s insanely easy and because as long as you have broth and a can of cannellini beans on hand, you can pretty much use whatever protein and sturdy greens you prefer. For this version, in my opinion, the leftover baked ham is the lead singer while the escarole really comes through with solid back up vocals. But I will let you decide for yourself!

About those ingredients!

Once you make this once or twice, you likely won’t need a recipe. It really is a “use what you got” kind of soup and, like I said, it’s highly adaptable and I encourage you to create the version you like best. All you need for the base is olive oil, onion, garlic, and broth. Once you get that situation going, add in the escarole, ham, beans, and herbs. Obviously you’ll season with salt and pepper, which go a long way in this simple soup, but some grated parm and crushed red pepper will give it another boost at serving.

I do want you to take a quick moment and see how I shredded the ham for this soup. Not only does shredding the ham looks rustic and beautiful but the texture allows the meat to soak up the broth, which results in a tender chunks of ham. It is an extra step that I think adds a lot to the final soup but, by all means, feel free to dice or chop the ham.

Another great idea for using up that leftover holiday ham is to make my fun and tasty Potted Ham, which isn’t as much of a meal but can be with some crusty grilled bread and a side salad.

5 from 2 ratings

Ham, White Bean & Escarole Soup

Leftover ham gives this white bean and escarole soup lots of heft and rich flavor. A bit of fresh rosemary and sage give it just the right amount of herby essence.

Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 packed cups torn escarole, (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced sage
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces baked ham, shredded, (not thin-sliced deli ham)
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Grated parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, for serving

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the escarole, rosemary, and sage. Cook, stirring, until the escarole is barely wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, ham, and beans. Bring just to a boil, then simmer over low heat until hot, 3 to 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve, passing grated parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper, and olive oil at the table.
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