I’ve been experimenting with several varieties of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo (based in Napa) and there’s one that has really impressed me, the Hutterite Soup Bean, which you can read about in more detail here.

Hutterite Soup Beans, from Rancho Gordo

Last night, as the lovely rain continued, I finished the last of the soup I’d made on Monday and was inspired by a very large–2 1/2 pounds–smoked ham hock from Victorian Farmstead to pull out my slow cooker. Then I thought of the beans. I put them in a soup pot, added some water, boiled them for 10 minutes, covered the pan and let them soak for an hour. By then, it was just about time for bed.


I rinsed the soaked beans, put them in the slow cooker along with a yellow onion cut in chunks, a few garlic cloves, a bay leaf, some salt and white pepper and that enormous ham hock. I added a quart of pork stock I happened to have in the freezer and another quart and a half or so of water, set the slow cooker on low for 6 hours and went to bed.

When I got up, long before sunrise, the slow cooker had shifted from low to warm and the soup looked just perfect. The meat had fallen off the bone and was easy to break up with a big spoon and the beans had held their shape I took a taste: ahhhh, it was absolutely delicious, the beans themselves like little velvet nuggets, rich and voluptuous.

Some beans disintegrate when left in a slow cooker over night but these Hutterite beans held up perfectly, even after I transferred the soup to containers. I ended up with nearly four quarts. Let the rains continue.

For more soup recipes, check out these posts:

Soup Weather

Slow Cooker Soups

Tomato Soups Before Tomato Season

Jook, Congee & Porridge



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  1. Rayne Wolfe

    Yum! With all the storms predicted through the weekend, this is just what I was looking for! I’ll add some nice rustic bread and pick a classic film noir and I’m SET!

    March 15th, 2012 12:16 pm

  2. Tiffani Beckman

    Yum! We love the hutterites too!

    Last bean recipe we made was the Ayocote Negro beans – huge black beauties. Soaked, then germinated, then gently boiled with a strip of wakame. When done – drained and tossed in a large skillet with onions, lard, red wine and a cup or so of homemade beef broth. Simmer until sinful.

    Great eaten on their own, with an egg cracked over top and cooked, or mixed with a cheesy roux for cheesy beans. Ah, bean bliss.

    March 15th, 2012 1:55 pm

  3. nancy

    For some reason it had never occurred to me to use slow cooker overnight…what a delight to wake up to fragrant, warm soup in the morning…ready to go! Great idea and recipes, michele! I love how soup recipes can so easily adapt to ‘vegetarian’ version.

    March 15th, 2012 4:38 pm

  4. shannon


    Thank you, just the type of recipe I’ve been looking for, can’t wait to try this one, you are such an inspiration when it comes to food, I get so stuck in a rut with two young kids. You are the food goddess of Sonoma County!!!!! I learn something new and can’t miss your columns, you are brilliant.


    April 1st, 2012 11:37 pm

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