Virginia Ham & Bean Chowder – #SoupSwappers

Blended cannellini beans help to transform this Virginia ham and bean soup into a comforting meal that is thick, creamy, and absolutely packed with flavor.

I originally grew up in Western Maryland, however, I have lived in Northern Virginia for most of my blessed adult life. I love each of these wonderful states for different reasons and feel completely at home in both of them; I swear I would find it seriously difficult to choose between the two if forced. My little town of Herndon makes me insanely happy on most days, however, a trip back to where I grew up in Cumberland, always makes my heart smile.

Notice how I said that my little town of Herndon makes me insanely happy on most days. Lately, not so much. Earlier this month, B.O.B. Bob and I threw our annual Halloween party, to which we always invite pretty much everyone we know. This year, on the day of the party, I received several texts and even some phone calls asking if guests could bring a few additional people with them. This is fairly normal, and we are always willing to open our home to extra people when asked.

The problem comes, when guests decide to bring people who were not invited and don’t even bother to ask first. I can’t even begin to tell you how many of these same people don’t even seem to acknowledge the fact that they actually brought someone with them, yet alone that perhaps it was impolite to do so without asking first. This I can forgive; after all, it’s just bad manners and perhaps their mommies and daddies never took the time to teach them the difference between right and wrong. For every bad guest, there are over 40 who are perfectly lovely and well-mannered and whose mommies and daddies probably whooped their butts growing up until they learned how to show respect.

What I can’t forgive, is people going out of their way to go through parts of my house that were clearly marked as being off limits. What do I mean by off limits? I mean that there was a big ol’ chair in front of the staircase that one would have to move out of the way in order to go up the stairs. I’m fairly certain that my message of going upstairs is not allowed should have come across clearly to anyone in our home that evening upon seeing that chair and its position.

So, why exactly would I want to keep parts of my home off limits? First of all, my dear sweet Brenna must be locked in the office for every party that we have. Not only for the party guests safety but for her own as well. Having people going up and down the stairs constantly only seems to make her more anxious, so I have come to the conclusion that is best for her to be safely tucked away and keep people away from her general vicinity. In my world, Brenna’s comfort and well-being will always come first.

I normally have a sign which I put up at the bottom of the stairs during every party that states this fact and that no one except for B.O.B. Bob and I should go upstairs and that if someone is curious and would like a tour of the house to please see us first. I get it, people are curious. They want to see how people live. No biggie. All I’m asking is for someone to respect my wishes and my privacy and give me the courtesy of speaking with me first. Why was the sign not there? Because Brenna cried for an hour while I was getting ready before the party and had just settled down and I didn’t have the heart to disturb her by going into the locked office to get the damn sign. The chair would have to suffice as my redneck do not enter sign.

Well y’all, from my little rant so far, I’m guessing you know that someone did not exactly heed my wishes? How do I know this? Well, let’s just say that you should never try to sneak something by someone who has OCD. Any little thing out of place will go noticed, and usually within mere seconds. Heck, I didn’t even need my OCD this time around, there was a big ol’ piece of evidence on the middle of my bedroom floor that clearly showed that someone who was not supposed to be in that room had indeed been there. I’ll spare you the details because they really aren’t that important.

What is important is privacy, respect, and just plain ol’ common sense. No matter how nosey, no matter how curious, no matter how much your manners suck big ol’ donkey eggs, do not go through someone’s house like it is your own and you have the right be there. You don’t. I live here, B.O.B. Bob lives here, and Brenna lives here. It is our home. We welcome pretty much everyone into it with open arms. Not only do we love our home but we love both our town and our state, and find it an absolute pleasure to share all of them with our amazing group of friends and family.

So, instead of confronting each individual separately about the invasion of privacy that recently occurred in my home, I have decided instead to just let it go, have a big ol’ bowl of steaming Virginia Ham & Bean Chowder, and give some serious thought to not only putting locks on all of the doors upstairs in our home but also putting in a security camera as well. Better yet, maybe I’ll just put Brenna in my bedroom next time. That will teach people to think first. I can assure you that when it comes to this house, Brenna is the master, and she has no problem letting anyone know that, usually with her claws.

Blended cannellini beans help to transform this Virginia ham and bean soup into a comforting meal that is thick, creamy, and absolutely packed with flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Small Sweet Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
  • 3 Small Carrots, Peeled & Finely Diced
  • 8-oz. Virginia Ham, Diced
  • 1 (32-oz.) Carton Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 2 (15-oz.) Cans of Low-Sodium Cannellini Beans, Rinsed & Drained (Divided)
  • 1 Cup Half & Half
  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fennel Seed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Blended cannellini beans help to transform this Virginia ham and bean soup into a comforting meal that is thick, creamy, and absolutely packed with flavor.

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter over medium-heat in a large Dutch oven.
  2. When the butter is melted, add the onions, carrots, and ham; cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and one can of the drained beans to the Dutch oven.
  4. In a blender, purée the other can of drained beans with the half & half until smooth and then add it to the Dutch oven.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cook for an additional 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Blended cannellini beans help to transform this Virginia ham and bean soup into a comforting meal that is thick, creamy, and absolutely packed with flavor.

Suggestions:

  • You can use any type of ham in this recipe. I suggest using a ham steak, which is the perfect size, affordable, and easy to dice into small pieces.
  • Make sure to use low-sodium ingredients in this recipe or else it may be too salty to eat.
  • Use as much freshly ground black pepper in this chowder as you like. I prefer a lot of pepper, so I used 1/2-teaspoon.

Blended cannellini beans help to transform this Virginia ham and bean soup into a comforting meal that is thick, creamy, and absolutely packed with flavor.

Improvements:

  • Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley or chives.
  • These Collapsible Kitchen Colanders make rinsing and draining canned beans a breeze and they take up very little space in your kitchen cabinets.
  • Stainless steel ladles are great for canning, however, a Silicone Ladle is better for everyday cooking and helps to prevent scratches on your pots and pans.
  • For a more decadent chowder, use heavy cream instead of half & half.

Virginia Ham & Bean Chowder

Virginia Ham & Bean Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Small Sweet Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
  • 3 Small Carrots, Peeled & Finely Diced
  • 8-oz. Virginia Ham, Diced
  • 1 (32-oz.) Carton Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 2 (15-oz.) Cans of Low-Sodium Cannellini Beans, Rinsed & Drained (Divided)
  • 1 Cup Half & Half
  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fennel Seed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter over medium-heat in a large Dutch oven.
  2. When the butter is melted, add the onions, carrots, and ham; cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and one can of the drained beans to the Dutch oven.
  4. In a blender, purée the other can of drained beans with the half & half until smooth and then add it to the Dutch oven.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cook for an additional 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
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Blended cannellini beans help to transform this Virginia ham and bean soup into a comforting meal that is thick, creamy, and absolutely packed with flavor.

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Soup Saturday Swappers is a group of friends who get together on the third Saturday of each month to share their favorite soup and stew recipes based on a theme chosen by one of the members. To join Soup Saturday Swappers you can send an email to wendyklik1517@gmail.com. Visit our Pinterest board to find more great soup and stew recipes.

Thank you to Ashley from a Cheese Curd In Paradise for hosting this month’s Soups from Your State (Regional Soups) themed Soup Saturday Swappers.