Grandpap Seibel’s Bean Soup: The Best Ham and Bean Soup You’ll Ever Eat

Source: Micki Seibel, September 2012

Source: Micki Seibel, September 2012

Cook time: 
Ready in: 
Yields: Serves 6-8

This bean soup is simple in construction but rich in flavor. The secret? The long cooking time. I guarantee that this is like no ham and bean soup you’ve ever had. The combination of dried herbs fuse together a complex layer of flavors. The large butter lima beans and potato provide a hearty and thick texture that is complimented by the soft, tender, long cooked ham. This simple recipe has been handed down in my family for generations, but it has been a closely guarded family secret…until now, that is.


  • 1 lb (0.45kg) dried large lima beans
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 large potato, peeled and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs (0.9kg) boneless ham, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 large potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper
This watery pot will thicken over 3 hours of cooking from the starch of the beans and minced potato. Source: Micki Seibel, September 2012

This watery pot will thicken over 3 hours of cooking from the starch of the beans and minced potato. Source: Micki Seibel, September 2012


  1. Soak the beans in a 6 quart pot for 8-12 hours. The water should be salted with the kosher salt, and the water level should be approximately 3 inches (7cm) above the top of the beans.
  2. Drain the salt water and refill the pot to 3/4 full.
  3. Over medium-high heat, add the peeled, diced potato, the handful of minced baby carrots, parsley, oregano, red pepper, olive oil, and ham. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining potato and carrots. Return to a boil.
  6. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 additional hour.
  7. To serve, scoop into bowls and top with fresh parley and fresh ground black pepper.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. It’s best if you let the beans soak in the salt water overnight. This process re-hydrates the dried beans, and you don’t want to short change the re-hydration process. Much of the beans cook away and become the broth, so if the beans are not properly re-hydrated, you’ll end up with watery broth and not the rich, thick, flavorful broth we’re after.
  2. I recommend that you finely mince the peeled potato and handful of carrots. The smaller the pieces, the more likely they are to melt away during the 2 hour simmer–which is what we want. The more they cook into the broth, the more flavorful, thick and rich it becomes.
  3. Don’t get lazy and forget to stir. This soup needs to be stirred every 15 minutes. Otherwise, you will burn beans and ham the bottom of the pot. Not only does that not taste good, but it’s hell to clean.
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 357 grams
Calories 409Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value *
Fat 11 g17%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Carbohydrates 65 g22%
Sugar 5 g
Fiber 23 g92%
Protein 28 g56%
Cholesterol 52 mg17%

* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.