Preview: This hearty Ham Stew with beef and bacon satisfies and warms but won’t leave you weighed down. The secret is in the apple-flavored broth.
My favorite soup recipe on this blog is Ham Stew. #1!! On a cold and blustery day, nothing warms your innards better than this meaty bowl of soup with a broth that’s slurpin’ good. It’s filling, but not heavy on your belly since there is no gravy or cream sauce.
The secret to this ham stew is the broth. Invisible sliced apples add a subtle sweetness.
You can’t see the apples without a close inspection, but they work magic. Honestly, I would be content with a piece of hot, crusty cornbread and a bowl of the broth alone. Tasty and comforting!
Leave out one (optional) ingredient to make this stew gluten-free and grain-free.
This Cabbage Stew recipe is packed with beef, ham, and bacon for a most satisfying soup. is an unforgettable combination of smoky bacon, tender chunks of beef chuck, cubes of ham, cabbage, apples, and other veggies combined with a delicious beef broth.
Ham: This soup is a great recipe for leftover ham. Or plan ahead. Around the holidays is an opportune time to pick up an unsliced ham on sale. Cut it into small half-inch chunks and freeze for this soup.
Cubed Chuck Roast: Stew meat works perfectly. I try to buy chuck roast on sale, cut it up myself, and freeze it for future stew.
Bacon: Bacon is essential to this stew. If you want to use pre-cooked bacon pieces, be sure to add bacon grease to brown the stew meat. Although you can use oil instead, bacon grease adds a ton of flavor.
Onions: Yellow onions are the best for most soups, in my opinion. White onions will work, too. Frozen onions are also fabulous and more convenient.
Apples: The best apples will “melt” into this soup while cooking. I don’t want to see chunks of apple floating around in my soup.
The best apples will “melt” into this soup while cooking. I don’t want to see chunks of apple floating around in my soup.
My preferred apple for this recipe is Golden Delicious. Granny Smith would also work.
The recipe calls for 2 cups of finely chopped apples. This usually requires 2 medium apples or 3 small apples. A little more or less than 2 cups is fine.
Carrots: Scrape or peel regular carrots and slice about 1/4-inch thick. Save a little time by using baby carrots since you won’t have to peel or scrub. Cut them in about four slices since they are smaller in diameter.
Cabbage: The only important tip to mention about the cabbage is not to let it cook too long at the end. I like it to be a little bit soft with a little bit of crunch. Is it appropriate to say the cabbage should be “al dente”?
Is this ham stew recipe grain-free and/or gluten-free?
Yes, both, IF you leave out the optional Worcestershire sauce. It’s not a deal-breaker when it comes to this recipe. Your soup will still be delicious.
Stove-top, slow cooker, or pressure cooker?
For the 25-30 years that I’ve been making this recipe, I did it on top of the stove. You can, too. Allow 2-1/2 to 3 hours. See the notes in the recipe for detailed instructions.
Then I started doing it in my slow cooker. After frying the bacon, brown the beef. Then add the onions, apples, ham, and carrots, along with the broth and other seasonings.
After cooking the meat and veggies all day, add the cabbage and bacon the last 10 minutes before you are ready to serve. This is a good plan if you can’t be home during the day.
Are you a pressure cooker or Instant Pot fan? I sure am. You can make this hearty soup from start to finish in about an hour. Maybe not the first time. Much of that time is while the stew is in the pressure cooker, giving you time to throw together some cornbread if you like.
With a little practice, this extraordinary hamstew will come together fast. See the video for more details about making this recipe in a pressure cooker.
How to make Ham Stew with an Instant Pot
#1 Set the pot to SAUTÉ and fry the bacon until it is crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
#2 Using the SAUTE function, brown the beef cubes.
#3 When all meat is browned, add the onions and cook until softened.
#4 Add chopped apples to the pot.
#5 Add the remainder of ingredients except for cabbage and cooked bacon.
#6 Push the MANUAL button and set on High pressure for 35 minutes. Release pressure naturally. At this point, the stew can set on WARM (with the lid on) for hours until you are ready to eat.
#7 About 10-15 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove the pressure cooker lid and add chopped cabbage. Also, don’t forget to add the bacon you set aside earlier. Use the SAUTÉ setting to heat the soup for 10 minutes until cabbage is softened.
#8 Serve hot with cornbread, hot rolls, or crackers.
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Hope to see you again soon!
p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.