Opa’s Simple Hearty Navy Bean Soup

Last revised:  27-Nov-05

Yield: ~8-10 servings

This is a simple, easy to make white bean soup.  I've written and posted it here because my dear daughter asked me to.  This same soup can be made from an after-Thanksgiving turkey carcass, or just about any other bone that can be cooked to broth.

NB:  Dried beans come in a bewildering variety of names.  But most often they're called "Navy Beans", or "Small white beans".  OTOH; a "bean" is a "bean", and most any bean can be cooked this way.  This recipe works just as well with "black beans"...


Rinse and sort beans on a clean towel.  Cover with cold water and soak overnight -OR- bring to a boil in 6-8 cups of water for 2-minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1-3 hours.  Drain beans and place in a large soup kettle or Dutch oven.  Add tomatoes with juice, onion, carrots, celery, bay-leaf, optional ingredients, ham hock, broth, water, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Add more water if necessary.

If the soup is too thin for your liking, leave the lid off and let the water evaporate while the beans are cooking.  If it's too thick, add water and/or keep it covered.

Remove ham hock and cut meat from bone; set aside.  For thicker soup, beans may be pureed in a food processor or blender, or mashed with a potato masher and then returned to kettle.  Return ham to soup and heat through.  Garnish with parsley.  If cooking for 2: freeze serving-size portions to enjoy later.

While the soup is cooking, if I don't have that much ham-meat on the bone, I usually grill a split Kielbasa and slice it into the serving bowl.  You can also add a dollop of sour cream for a richer creamier soup (and to cool the fire in case you overdo the spices!).   Or, another variation from my young grandson:  sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese & aromatic ground nutmeg over the top.

To complete the meal I suggest a torn chunk of my Rustic “Hercules” bread, and a cellar cool beer.  Enjoy!