Navy Bean and Ham Soup...

Is is just me, or does there seem to be more colds and flu going around than normal for this time of year? It seems like almost everyone I know is fighting a cold, just getting over a cold, or flat out in the middle of about a three week cold cycle. Uffda! Hope this all stops going around soon! 

The only good thing about this cold season is that it is the perfect time of year to make soup. Last week, I shared the Homemade Chicken Noodle soup almost guaranteed cold fighter. This week I'm sharing another recipe from Life:Beautiful magazine that is very hearty...definitely a comfort food...Navy Bean and Ham Soup.

Did you ever wonder why those small white beans are called Navy beans? I looked it up and according to my google source, this bean actually got it's name from the Navy because it was one of their main staple foods in the early 20th century. Navy beans are an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, and potassium...all that in that little ol' white bean. 

I have to admit I don't usually do the whole soak dried beans overnight thing, often opting to simply add beans to soup from a can. But in the interest of giving these recipes a fair test, I'm trying to follow them as perfectly as I can so I went for it. Bought the bag of Navy beans (very cheap) and soaked them overnight. Really not a big deal...just have to plan ahead. Fortunately, I had saved the bone and tid bits of ham from our Christmas ham so I was able to thaw it out from the freezer and use the bone in the soup. Somehow making this soup made me feel like I was tuning into Little House on the Prairie...using my leftover ham bone and all!

Just a note if you decide to give this recipe a's a fairly time consuming soup to make. Definitely not something you could whip together after work! More like something you might want to make on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon while football games are on...just sayin'.

Ham and Bean Soup from Life:Beautiful

3 cups dried navy beans

20 cups of water, divided

1 (3 1/2 pound) meaty ham bone*

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Black pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Rinse beans. In a large pot, combine beans and 8 cups of water. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. (Or for a quick soak method, bring beans to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 60 minutes). Drain and rinse beans, set aside.

In the same pot, add ham bone and remaining 12 cups of water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Add beans and thyme to the pot. Simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Add onion, carrots, and celery and salt to the pot. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until beans and vegetables are tender and ham is falling off the bone.

Remove the ham bone from the pot. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off bone; coarsely chop. Discard bone. Using a potato masher, slightly mash beans and vegetables in pot. Stir in chopped ham; simmer mixture for 10 more minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. If desired, garnish each serving with parsley.

*Note: Purchase a 9 -10 pound bone-in, smoked fully cooked ham and cut 3 1/2 pound portion that includes the bone to use in the soup. Reserve remaining ham for another use.

This navy bean and ham soup was really delicious. The ham provided such a nice smokey flavor and truly did just fall off the bone! If you like an old school flavorful soup, I would heartily recommend this one! 

This month seems to be flying by! Happy Friday, friends! Warmly, Gracia