Baby it’s cold outside… Winter weekends Russ often makes a pot of homemade stock and/or soup. Since he had cooked up a batch of ham stock a few weeks prior, he decided it was time—and certainly cold enough—to make his Ham and Navy Bean Soup. Back in the day, Russ learned to make it from his mother Mary, but he’s made a few tweaks of his own along the way.
Mary did not make the stock in advance, but rather she’d cook the ham hocks with the beans until tender. After which she’d remove the meat from the bone, and then add the sautéed vegetables. As owner of two pressure cookers, Russ can make his various stocks quickly and freeze them in 4 cup portions (and large cubes) for future use.
With our ham stock ready, the soup prep was relatively easy, and the aroma while it simmered on the stove was a welcome reprieve to the frigid outdoor temps. As with many soups and stews, they are often better tasting the following day after the flavors have had a chance to meld.
Slice the bacon into 1/2″ strips, and dice the celery and carrots.
No need for a garnish, but if you wish to add a pop of color, sprinkle on some chopped parsley.
- 16 ounce dried navy beans, soaked overnight, drained
- 4 ounces bacon, sliced into 1/2″ strips
- 3 celery stalks, chopped into 1/4″ dice
- 3 medium carrots, chopped into 1/4″ dice
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 5 cups ham stock
- 3 cups water
- About 2 cups meat picked off of ham hock bones after making the stock
- Brown bacon pieces in large soup pot over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes.
- Add chopped celery, carrots and onion to pot. Stir in chopped garlic after 2 minutes and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes until onion softens, stirring occasionally.
- To pot, add 5 cups of ham stock and 3 cups water. After adding liquids, stir in navy beans and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer the covered pot for 60-75 minutes until beans are tender.
- Using an immersion blender, purée some of the ingredients with a few pulses to thicken the soup. Alternatively, put 2 cups of the soup in a blender and pulse until creamy, then pour back into soup pot.
- Add shredded meat and heat for another few minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy!
Time saving tip: In a pressure cooker, cook the ham hocks and navy beans per unit instructions. When done, remove the meat from the bones and add everything to a pot of the sautéed veggies.