Happy New Year, everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s 2019 already. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like just yesterday I was preparing our Thanksgiving feast. The time between November 1st and January 1st flew by with the holidays. Now we can all relax, get cozy, fika and hygge together, and slowly enjoy our soup months with candles and fires.
I first posted this recipe for Navy Bean Soup in April of 2009 as a way to use leftover Easter Ham. It’s been my most popular soup recipe ever with over 57,000 views to date! I know many of you have leftover Christmas ham in your freezer so this would be a great way to use it.
This time, I added some chopped, fresh kale to the soup and it was a delicious and healthy addition. Surprise!…even my husband enjoyed the kale. I also decided to give it a few pulses with an immersion blender to give it just a little creaminess. As you can see, I love several nice grinds of pepper on my soup.
With all the veggies, and a little crusty bread, this makes a perfect, lazy day meal. I prefer to start out with cooking my own dried navy beans because I think they just make the soup even more delicious, but if you don’t have time, use canned navy beans, by all means! Just shorten the cooking time to about an hour or two, to get the flavor from the ham bone into the soup.
What else have I been doing on this first day of 2019? For one thing, I couldn’t wait to start a few seeds! I love adding sprouts to soups and salads and have enjoyed buying radish sprouts from a local grower, but it’s so easy to do yourself and a fun project. Watching something green grow at this time of year (especially if you live in the Midwest as we do) always lifts the spirits 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on the sprouts’ progress!
The other thing I’m going to do this month is get this afghan finished that I started in the fall. If you have followed me, you know how much I love black and white accents around the house.
If you look closely at the chair, you can see a purple pipe cleaner twister around one of the spokes on the back of the chair. A reminder that our oldest grandson loves to decorate our home ♥ I didn’t even notice it was there until I started editing these photos 🙂
I found the afghan pattern at Churchmouse Yarns’ website but you also can find it on Ravelry here. You may have to become a member to gain access to Ravelry, which is free. The pattern itself is only $5.00 US. I absolutely love the pattern, even though it took several starts to get the size I was looking for as it’s meant to be a baby blanket.
One of the many sweet moments of Christmas was getting this note from our 6-year-old grandson ♥
Navy Bean Soup
Composed of several different recipes and tweaked over the years, this is a family favorite!
1 pound navy beans
1 meaty ham bone, or you could use a smoked pork shank or hock
1/2 pound diced ham from the deli or your ham bone
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 medium carrots, diced
2-3 stalks of celery, diced
1 large clove minced garlic
2-3 sprigs of thyme
Approximately 3 quarts Water, Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Salt and Pepper
Optional: Fresh kale, washed and thick veins removed. Cut into strips and then slice thinly. The heat of the soup will soften the kale or mix it into the hot soup for a minute or two before serving.
If you are a well-planned soup maker, you can soak the beans overnight. If you’re like me, at least get started in the morning! Pick out any unsavory-looking beans and rinse in a colander. Place the beans into a soup pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, remove from heat and let them rest for 30 minutes. Pour beans back into the colander and rinse again.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Put the beans back into the soup pot along with the ham bone and cover with water or, as I do, add chicken or vegetable stock to cover the beans by at least 2 inches. Add the sautéed vegetables and thyme sprigs and simmer the soup on low heat for 4-5 hours until the beans are tender.
Remove ham bone, and thyme sprigs. Dice the ham.
Update: Before returning the diced ham to the soup, I now like to use an immersion blender and partially puree the beans to give the soup a more creamy texture. Just a few pulses is all.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with freshly ground pepper, parsley or freshly chopped kale. Cheddar bread sticks are a perfect compliment.