This creamy smoky recipe for Ham and Navy Bean Soup is pretty much a dump soup. Put everything in the pot and turn it on until done. You can cook the soup on the stove-top, in the oven, in your pressure cooker or crockpot - the choice is up to you!
The making of - Ham and Navy Bean Soup
Making a hearty Ham and Navy Bean Soup is one of my favorite things to do with ham leftovers.
It takes me back to my childhood days when I loved to eat Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup. My Ham and Navy Bean Soup has the same smokey flavors, creamy texture with firm beans; and you can actually find the ham.
And this soup is so easy, just dump everything into whichever cooking vessel you desire, and turn it on!
Just like my recipe for Smoky Split Pea Soup.
"If you don't have any leftover ham, you can easily make this soup with some meaty ham hocks; or even a smoked turkey leg, or two."
One of the things I love about making homemade soup is you can make your soup as thick, or as thin, as you want.
Here is a quick video showing you how to make Ham and Navy Bean Soup, from scratch.
So let's start with the ingredients...
Navy Beans are small, white, very creamy, and mild in texture and taste. They got their name because they were a staple in the diet of our Naval forces.
Navy beans are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans.
In addition to lowering cholesterol, navy beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypoglycemia.
When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, navy beans provide virtually fat-free high-quality protein. Navy beans are a very good source of folate and manganese and a good source of protein and vitamin B1 as well as the minerals phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and iron.
If you don't have Navy Beans you could substitute Great Northern White Bean or another small white bean.
Do not use Pinto, Kidney, Black, or any other earthy bean as, not only will the flavor be influenced, but the color would look...honestly, very YUCKY.
To soak or not to soak, that is the question.
And the answer is...as you wish.
Soaking beans, either overnight in cold water (now it is thought best to soak them in the refrigerator so they don't start fermenting) or using the quick soak method, where you boil them for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let them sit for an hour, simply results in a quicker cooking time.
But you don't need to soak them at all, they will eventually get tender as they cook. It just might take a half-hour or an hour longer.
Regardless of whether you choose to soak them or not, you do need to pick them over for pebbles and to remove broken beans, and of course, you need to rinse them well; they are dirty.
Yes, even the ones in the bags are dirty.
The Smoky Element
This is a perfect soup to make with a leftover ham bone. But we don't always have one available so a good substitute is smoked ham hocks, easily found in most grocery stores.
Don't want to use pork at all? While the taste and texture of ham is perfect for the soup, if you don't want to use it, a couple of smoked turkey legs can be used.
The other ingredients include...
- Bay leaf, thyme, and water.
Various Cooking Methods
I usually make this soup baking it in a 325º oven.
I've had a lot of success taking things from the stove-top and placing them into the oven finding that the heat coming from all sides helps cook more evenly. And without bottom scorch.
This was no exception, for the cooking part of the program, but didn't reduce the liquid as much as I thought it would.
This is really not such a bad issue to have and there are a few ways you can fix having too much liquid.
- You can remove it from the oven and finish on the stove-top, with the lid off, to help reduce the liquid.
- Or do what I did, just take a ladle and remove the excess liquid, keeping it reserved in a bowl. Once the blending is done, you can use that flavorful juice to add back to the soup to get just the right amount of thickness.
- I have also found, though my cooking experiences, that left-over soups such as this, tend to get thicker as they sit in the refrigerator. The reserved liquid is perfect for thinning them down again.
You can also, of course, make this soup in your crockpot, pressure cooker, or on the stove-top. It's all just a matter of time. Crockpot = 6 - 8 hours, Pressure Cooker = about 1 hour, stove-top = about the same as the oven.
This soup is delicious served immediately but will improve with a day or so in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to fully blend.
Step by Step Instructions (or just watch the video)
- Drain your soaked beans and put them into which ever pot you are going to use to cook them.
- Add the veggies, herbs, and ham bone (hock or turkey leg as appropriate).
- Add water to cover by 2 inches and start your cooking method.
- Once the beans are tender, remove the ham bone, ham hock, or turkey bone and allow to cool enought to remove the meat from the bone.
- Remove the bay leaves from the soup.
- Take about ½ of the bean mixture and put it into a blender. This is going to thicken the soup and well as make it creamy.
- Add the blended beans back to the soup, along with the chopped ham, or turkey.
What if my ham hock isn't very meaty?
This can be a problem. Some hocks are meatier than others, so if yours lacks the meat you want to put into the soup, you can buy a slab of ham and chop it up. I'm not a fan of "cubes" in this soup, so shred or chop it fairly finely.
Can I freeze Ham and Navy Bean Soup?
Yes, yes, and yes. Ham and Navy Bean Soup freezes well; so make a large batch and freeze some in containers to enjoy all winter long.
What are some good "side dishes"?
Deliciously served with...
How to make Easy Ham and Navy Bean Soup
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion about 1 large
- 1 cup chopped carrot about 4 medium
- ½ cup chopped celery about 2 stalks, use some of the leaves as well
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large meaty ham bone
- 1 – 2 cups chopped ham meat set-aside until soup is finished
- 1 bag 1-pound navy or small white beans
- If desired; Soak the beans overnight or using the quick soak method (boil beans covered by 2 inches in water for 5 minutes, shut off the heat and allow them to sit for 1 hour.) Drain the beans then add to the pot with enough water to cover by 1 ½ inches. Nestle in the ham bone, add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves; bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer 1 ½ hours. Uncover and simmer ½ hour more, or until the beans are tender. Remove the bone and bay leaves. Allow the bone to cool, when cool enough to handle remove any meat
- Take half of the bean mixture and blend (use caution with hot liquids) until smooth. Coarsely chop the meat, then return to the pot along with the reserved meat and blended beans. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings, add salt and pepper to taste; simmer for ½ hour more to allow the flavors to develop fully. This soup freezes well.