Reducipe: Mexican Ham & Bean Soup

Posted on April 6, 2008 by Melissa 
Filed Under Reducipes

Mexican Ham & Bean SoupWith food prices still going up I wanted to post another bean recipe that we enjoy. Bean soups are a filling and hearty way to satisfy your family and keep food costs down. This one isn’t vegetarian and incorporates a little bit of ham.

This recipe is a spiced up version of ham and bean soup. It brings in a lot of the flavors of my region and is anything but bland. The ham and chipotle chilies add a smoky note to the soup and really compliments the other flavors.

If you can’t find whole chipotles where you live you can also use ground chipotle. Just be careful not to be too heavy handed with the ground stuff. It’s smoked jalapeno and it can get spicy! If you have to leave it out entirely I would consider adding a ham hock to boost up the smoky goodness.

The Manchego cheese and cilantro toppings bring coolness to the soup and offer a wonderful contrast to the highly flavored broth.

Mexican Ham & Bean Soup

1 lb dried pinto beans
10-12 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups onions, chopped
2 cups smoked ham, cubed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 chipotle chilies
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons oregano
3 bay leaves
Dash cayenne
Kosher salt, to taste
Manchego cheese, finely shredded
Cilantro, chopped

Pick through beans for pebbles and wash thoroughly. Place beans in large dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Combine beans, broth, onions, ham, garlic, and spices in a dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in tomatoes and chilies and simmer another 30-45 minutes. Discard the chilies and bay leaves and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve hot with cheese and cilantro sprinkled on top. Serves 6-8.

I actually put the chipotles in the soup at the time I mix all the other ingredients. I tend to like my soups spicy and the added time steeping really amps up the heat factor. If you don’t like too much spice be sure to add the chipotles when you add the tomatoes.

The soup is awesome when it is brothy so don’t skim on the liquids. If you can’t find low sodium chicken broth cut it with some water. Otherwise the soup can turn out a little salty after it condenses. Save your salting for after the simmering on this recipe.

Ingredients for Mexican Ham & Bean Soup

I like to buy the prepackaged slice of center cut ham for this recipe. I find it gives just enough and keeps the price low. Make sure to go for smoked ham, or if you want you can also add a ham hock for added smokiness.

I really like Manchego cheese for the topping on this dish. It’s a feisty cheese that can hold it’s own to the spiciness of this soup. I like it so much that I’ll try to bargain for it! If Manchego just isn’t in the budget you can replace it with Monterrey Jack.

I think this is great with a little cheese quesadilla on the side. I used fresh tortilla, Manchego, sautéed onions, and a little garlic powder for mine. Yum!


Ingredient Cost Ingredient Cost
Pinto Beans $0.57 Canned Tomatoes $1.36
Chicken Broth $3.00 Chipotles $0.11
Onion $0.79 Spices $0.10
Ham $2.99 Cheese $2.00
Garlic $0.04 Cilantro $0.33
  Total $11.29 or $1.41 a serving

This soups sure packs a lot of flavor for such a small price tag! You can cut down the cost even further by substituting a cheaper cheese for the Manchego, using your own chicken broth (or buying it in bulk), and getting a deal on the canned tomatoes. Enjoy!


10 Responses to “Reducipe: Mexican Ham & Bean Soup”

  1. Sarah on April 6th, 2008 9:25 am

    Do you have any tofu recipes? If so can you please post it? Thanks.

  2. Annie Jones on April 6th, 2008 2:43 pm

    I love regular ham and beans. Can’t wait to try this one!

  3. JJ on April 9th, 2008 6:04 pm

    I can find canned diced tomatoes with chipotles (I can’t can’t remember if it’s Hunt’s brand or Furmano’s at the moment and I don’t have any on hand to check) but I’ve been buying those since I lose the bag of frozen blobs of chipotles in my freezer. I have also found (but not used yet) little cubes- from Knorr I think it was- of chipotle like bouillon cubes. All that being said, I find I reach for my Penzey’s ground, the canned or the Tabasco first though.

  4. Caryn Verell on April 13th, 2008 2:19 pm

    ham and beans are indeed a yummy comfort meal around my household. instead of soaking beans overnight or preboiling and letting sit for an hour try using your slowcooker/crockpot. throw all ingredients into pot and then go do something else besides stirring pot….in about 4-5 hours on highsetting or 8-10hours on low setting you have got a meal without any effort at all. i have been known to double up on everything (have a large cooker) and then home pressure can all about one meal…that is 8quarts of comfort when you might not have the time or energy etc..

  5. Jenny on April 14th, 2008 9:23 am

    That looks really good. :)

  6. Quad Cities Lawyer on April 15th, 2008 11:11 am

    Is there a vegan version? My significant other is a new vegan, and it seems all the tasty dishes are off limits to her. Is she out of luck?

  7. Reducipe: Mexican Ham & Bean Soup : A Penny Closer « The Uncommon Homemaker on April 23rd, 2008 8:24 pm

    […] Reducipe: Mexican Ham & Bean Soup : A Penny Closer Mexican Ham & Bean Soup […]

  8. Jules on May 2nd, 2008 2:06 pm

    Hi There!

    I have an amazing recipe that is great for the wallet and for the body.

    from Cooking Light ®

    Ingredient List:

    • 1 Cup Water
    • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil (or Olive Oil)
    • 1 ¾ Cup Finely Chopped Onion FRESH
    • 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic FRESH
    • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
    • 2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
    • 3 15-Ounce Cans Black Beans (Rinsed & Drained)
    • 1 28 Ounce Can Diced tomatoes (do not drain)
    • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
    • ¼ (1 4th) Cup Bottle Chipotle


    Heat Canola oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion & garlic, sauté for 6 minutes or just until the onion mixture begins to brown. Add 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder & Cumin, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add beans & remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Recipe serves 6; Serving Size: 1 Cup

    ***Tastes best with honey corn bread & Sour Cream.

    Nutrition Information:

    CALORIES: 172 (16% from fat), FAT: 3g (0.3g. mono 1.5g, poly 0.9g) PROTEIN: 8g, CARB: 35.5g, FIBER: 11.1g, CHOL: 0mg, IRON: 3.3mg, SODIUM: 878mg, CALC: 95mg

  9. Smoked ham and bean soup(new comment) on October 20th, 2008 8:44 am

    I love ham and bean soup.
    I will try this one it sounds delicious.
    Another idea is to add some liquid smoke flavoring.

  10. Ham and bean soup(new comment) on October 23rd, 2008 9:49 pm

    This recipe sounds great I think Im going to add a little liquid smoke flavor to it.


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