For a good chunk of my life, I was completely turned off by bean soup. Come to think of it, I was pretty much disgusted by all beans. Silly little girl. I’m happy to report that in the past couple years, beans have become a staple in my kitchen. I like to keep bagged dried beans on hand for meals like this, but also canned beans for a quick meal or side dish.
This navy bean soup is the first instance in which I “saw the light” in regards to how awesome beans can be. We were on a cruise, enjoying lunch in the dining room, and navy bean soup was one of the starter courses for the day. I tried it, and loved it. The flavor and texture just won me over completely. Not to mention how hearty and filling it is. Isn’t it funny with all the fancier things on the menu that day, I remember the humble bean soup? It definitely left an impression.
Anyways, I finally “borrowed” the Carnival cookbook from my mom (she’ll probably never see it on her bookshelf again), which has their navy bean soup recipe. After Christmas we were all kind of burnt out on ham leftovers, so I threw the bone into the freezer and took it out last week to make this soup. But, if you don’t have a ham bone laying around, then a smoked ham hock would work just fine. It doesn’t get much more filling, heartier, or economical than a big bubbling pot of bean soup folks!
Navy Bean Soup
1 lb. dried navy beans
1/4 cup bacon, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ham bone or ham hocks
8 cups water
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Place beans in 5-quart Dutch oven; cover with cold water. Soak overnight; drain.
Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the hot bacon grease and cook for a few minutes, until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Slowly pour in the water. Add the ham bone, oregano, paprika, bay leaves, bacon, and drained beans. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 3 hours until beans are tender.Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove ham bone and bay leaves. If there’s any meat left on the bone, I’ll chop it up and throw it back in the soup. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Source: Carnival Creations, cruise cuisine from Carnival chefs