Years ago my Mom, Dad and I would frequently eat at Marie Callendar’s restaurant. We loved their pies, salads, soups and especially the corn bread with honey butter. My Mom really loved their Navy Bean soup – but she loved their vegetable soup as well. So, she would order half Navy bean – half vegetable soup. The waitress always looked at her strangely but would bring the soup as she had ordered it. Years later – and I do mean years – we discovered the Navy Bean soup appeared to be made as my Mom had always ordered it; more vegetables and a bit “soupier”. That was Mom – always ahead of her time! Here’s my version of Navy Bean/Vegetable soup.
1 Package of Navy Bean’s
1 white onion, chopped
1 celery heart, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ lb. baby carrots, each sliced into 3 or 4 smaller pieces
¾ lb. ham pieces
7 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
Extra water if needed
Prepare the beans according to package directions. Either soak overnight or use the “quick prep” method. Drain and rinse well. (I use the quick prep method)
Drizzle some olive oil into the soup pot. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until translucent. Add the celery and continue to sauté for several more minutes. Add the beans and ham; cover with chicken stock.
Place on a medium low flame. Put a lid on the pot, slightly ajar, and simmer for 2 hours. Stir every so often so the beans don’t stick to the pan.
Meanwhile, cook the carrots in a separate pan. Barely cover with water and boil until tender. About 25 – 30 minutes. Drain the carrots and set aside. I like to cook the carrots separate because I’ve found that the sugar in the carrots can cause the soup to have a sweet flavor that I don’t particularly enjoy.
After 2 hours of cooking test the soup for doneness. Add the Old Bay seasoning, carrots and salt & pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the beans are softened and the soup “comes together” in the correct consistency. I believe mine cooked for about 2 ½ hours. Add water as needed to keep the soup from becoming too thick.