Everyone knows that beans are economical and even tasty, but not everyone would consider serving to non-family members, especially the humble bean soup. The exception is chili – people have festivals for chili and cook-offs, but the poor little navy bean gets nothing. The following recipe is ‘company-good’; serve with wraps or sandwiches – it is courtesy of the now defunct USAir airline.
On a flight back in the day, this navy bean soup was served when the alternate meal ran out. It was delicious and the flight attendants (this was so long ago they still served meals and called the attendants ‘stewardesses’ – are you wondering how old I am? <wink> I was in middle school if that gives you a clue.) gave out little cards with this recipe. My mom still has the card! A bowl of this with a half a sandwich was a pretty filling lunch.
USAir Navy Bean Soup (my notes are in parentheses in green)
1 lb. Dry white navy beans
7+ c. Water (filtered)
1 c. diced onions
(not in the original but we always add a few cloves of chopped garlic or garlic powder to the soup)
1/3 c. diced celery
2/3 c. diced carrots
¼ c. chopped canned tomatoes (I’ve read that tomatoes can slow the cooking of the beans, so you may want to add them closer to the end; you could also skip them – I don’t remember picking out tomatoes and I know I would have if they were visible)
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
½ c. diced ham (the ham adds flavor and gives fat which helps soften the beans; if you don’t eat pork use some beef back ribs – the meat and bones)
1 ham bone (If you take the bone and make broth out of it, use the broth in place of plain water to cook the beans)
1 t. Accent (Omit This – it is MSG)
pepper to taste
½ t. thyme
1 t. salt (sea salt or pink salt of course; add to taste – with some ham you may not need this much)
Fast Soak Method (*if you did your soak right out of the grocery bag you won’t need to do this – just thaw out your beans; if not the traditional soak is better) Heat water and beans to boiling in Dutch oven; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.
Drain and add fresh water (or broth if you made it).
Stir in remaining ingredients except for salt. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer, skimming off foam occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 ¼ hours [do not boil or beans will burst] Add more water as necessary. (You could also do this in a slow cooker on Hi for 3-4 hours, but you won’t need to add more water.)
When beans are desired tenderness. Remove ham bone; trim ham from bone and stir into soup. Add salt to taste. Serve Hot.
PS: If I haven’t convinced you that this is a really delicious soup to try, Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish, sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset. There are over 300 soups (including mine).
This is also shared at Pennywise Platter Thursday.