Navy Bean Soup

(by Catherine Gigante-Brown)

(This is a very rustic, forgiving recipe. Feel free to substitute or add any herbs you like. I once used a seared pork chop when I realized I didn’t have a ham hock.)

1 lb. navy beans

1 T. oil (any type)

1 c. white onion, chopped

2 small cloves garlic, minced

1 smoked ham hock

8 c. water

1 bay leaf

1 t. dried parsley

salt and pepper, to taste

3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 small potato, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

Sort and soak navy beans according to package directions.

In a large pot, heat oil and lightly sauté onions until almost translucent.

Add garlic and sauté for a few seconds.

Add soaked and sorted beans, ham hock, water, bay leaf, dried parsley, salt and pepper. Cook at a gentle boil, partially covered, for 1 hour.

Add carrots, potato, and celery.

Continue cooking until beans are soft, approximately 30 - 60 minutes longer.

Remove ham hock and let cool slightly.

Separate the meat from the skin, bone, and fat.

Chop the meat, then add it back to the soup.

Gently mash the beans with a potato masher. Soup should be thick but not a smooth puree.

Makes approximately 3 quarts, or 6 - 9 servings.

(Remember to save some for Mrs. Hinton.)

(Read Navy Bean Special, the story that accompanies this recipe.)

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