Bean and Ham Soup; Chard and Meatball Soup

I finally pulled my tomato plants up this week. They hadn’t really been producing many tomatoes, and the ones I picked were not very flavorful.

It was time.

About a month ago I had my last big crop.

It was big, the tomatoes had lots of flavor, but they weren’t very pretty.

They tended to have lots of cracks on the shoulders, sides that weren’t ripe, brown spots here and there…. All very uneven and very typical of the end of the season.

I had all sizes and colors, but not really enough of any one kind to do anything with and peeling the good bits was really not an option.

So, I cut off all of the good parts of all the colors of all the tomatoes and put the whole lot in the blender…. Well, I filled the blender about 5 times….

I whizzed it all up, put it in 4 litre containers and froze it.

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t thick, but it had lots of flavor.

It would be perfect for soup.

So I made soup.

Regular commercial tomato juice would be a good substitute in these recipes.

The bean soup is an old-fashioned recipe – note the absence of herbs and spices.

Simple food.

Bean and Ham Soup

Total time: 2 1/2 hours plus soaking time if using dried beans and no pressure cooker   


  • 1 1/2 cups dried beans
  • 8oz (250gr) baked ham
  • 4oz (120gr) dry-cured ham (Prosciutto)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 – 6 carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • celery tops or 1 more rib
  • 1 litre (quart) tomato juice

Bean and Ham Soup


  • Soak the beans for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Drain and rinse beans. 
  • Cover beans with at least 2 inches (5cm) of water, add celery tops, 1 carrot cut in half and heat to boiling
  • Simmer, gently, until beans are tender, 60 – 90 minutes.   
  • Remove and discard carrot and celery leaves. 
  • Add tomato juice and heat to simmering. 
  • Cut both types of ham into small pieces and add to soup. 
  • Mince garlic, and roughly chop remaining vegetables. Add to soup.
  • Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender.

I made a Beef, Chard and Cabbage Soup last year that we both loved.

Before the bunnies eat all the chard (I took the bunny fence down for winter) I decided to make it again.

Being soup, I only came close to the original recipe.

Chard and Meatball Soup

Meatball Chard Soup


  • 16oz ground beef (500gr mince)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups (16oz / 450ml) beef stock 
  • 1 litre (quart) tomato juice 
  • 1 tbs basil 
  • 1 tsp chili powder 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 8oz (250gr) chard, chopped
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking barley


  • In large Dutch Oven (soup kettle) heat the beef stock and tomato juice over medium-high heat. 
  • Mix egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, basil and Worcestershire. Add ground beef and mix well. Form into small meatballs, 1″ (2.5cm) in diameter. 
  • When stock/juice is boiling slowly add meatballs, keeping them separate until they start to cook. 
  • When soup is boiling again (after addition of meatballs) you can start adding the rest of the ingredients as they are ready. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender and barley is done.

To go with the soup I made Oatmeal Drop Biscuits.

Winter arrived here yesterday…. I have to go tend my fire now.

5 thoughts on “Bean and Ham Soup; Chard and Meatball Soup”

  1. Hearty and beautiful soups, indeed. I’m still luxuriating in ripe tomatoes from a friend’s garden, a friend who has more luck growing tomatoes than I do. What will keep you busy all winter now that the garden is finished?

  2. Your bean and ham soup has instructions to add milk at the end of the prep, but milk and the quantity of milk is not listed. Could you give the quantity of milk to add?

  3. Zoomie – making soup! Lucky (or unlucky) the outdoor work continues – winter is the time for trimming, planting bulbs and doing all the crap I don’t have time for in summer LOL
    Scarlet, thanks – on both counts!
    James,, oh dear… Thank you for letting me know. You are right, there is no milk. I copied the formatting from another recipe and missed deleting the last line. I really need to find a proof-reader…. Or slow down!

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