U.S. Senate style Navy Bean Soup made with a Holiday Ham Bone

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U.S. Senate Navy Bean Soup

U.S. Senate Navy Bean Soup

Soak Beans Overnight or 30 mins   Prep 10 mins   Cook/Couch time 1:30   Eat 2:10

Navy Bean Soup is the perfect winter weather soup. It warms your insides and fills you up with beans literally, which are a great source of protein and fiber as well as energy. At this time of year, my sweetie always asks for Navy Bean Soup, but not just any bean soup. What he wants is the Navy Bean Soup he ate at the U.S. Senate restaurant as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle in Washington, D.C. years ago. I found a recipe for it in the Joy of Cooking but I have my own ideas about how it should be made. I looked at the recipe as a guide, but then got a little more creative.

Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender

Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender

One of the reasons I got more creative is that a new Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender in beautiful cherry red showed up at my door, like an early Christmas present. Nice! The timing was perfect. I unpacked it and put it right to work on the bean soup.  It is beautiful and a real work horse with lots of power to churn through all your kitchen ingredients.  It features five speeds, Stir, Chop, Mix, Puree and Liquify plus a special setting for crushing ice.  The Diamond blending system is specially designed to make blending quick and efficient and it has it’s own brain (Intelli-Speed) that seems to know what you are blending.  How about that!

Start with mirepoix - onions, celery, carrots and the beans and ham bone.

Start with mirepoix – onions, celery, carrots and the beans and ham bone.

I was using up the beans we used as pie weights in my recent Pie Class and a leftover ham bone in my freezer. I always say, “Don’t throw away your bones. They’re valuable stuff” and this proved the case with the Navy Bean Soup. It adds soooo much flavor. Save your bones from your holiday roasts in your freezer in airtight zipper bags and you will be glad you did. I can’t think of a better use for a ham bone than Navy Bean Soup. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.   If you don’t have a ham bone, you could use a few strips of bacon, or if you want it vegetarian, you could of course, use canola oil to cook your mirepoix in as the first step.

How the Navy Bean Soup looks after I've been sitting on the couch for awhile.

How the Navy Bean Soup looks after I’ve been sitting on the couch for awhile.

Navy Bean Soup is so easy to make – little hands on time, but a fair amount of “couch time”, where you give a stir occasionally.

 

Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender goes to work on the Navy Bean Soup.

Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender goes to work on the Navy Bean Soup.

There is a debate at our house about whether the Navy Bean Soup should be blended or not. I prefer blended and my sweetie prefers it not. Usually I combine some blended with not, which is what they do at the U.S. Senate restaurant, and then we are both happy. But not this time. Once I blended the Navy Bean Soup in the Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender, I discovered that it added a new dimension to the soup.

The Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender makes the Navy Bean Soup more elegant.

The Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender makes the Navy Bean Soup more elegant.

A silky smooth consistency that made the soup so much more elegant. Instead of the peasant-like soup it is with the whole beans, it took on a whole new persona and somewhat velvety in fact. More so than when I’ve used the immersion blender or the Cuisinart to puree soups in the past. Hmmm. I think my winter soups are going to get a makeover this year with this new blender at the ready. Thank you Kitchen-Aid for sending me this fun new toy. You can get your own Kitchen-Aid Diamond Blender in 14 colors to match your kitchen or your mood. You can purchase it at Amazon for $149 or check around for other good holiday shopping deals. I also noticed that Kitchen-Aid is offering a $30 rebate through December 31, 2014.

To blend or not to blend your Navy Bean Soup.  That is the question!

To blend or not to blend your Navy Bean Soup. That is the question!

Well, the debate continues, blended or not blended.  I decided to make it both ways, so we each can have it our way.  How do you like your Navy Bean Soup?  Curious?   Let me know in the comments below.

Want more soup?  Come to our Soups, Stews and Popovers class on Thursday, January 8. Home-made vegetable stock and more.  Click here for details. 

Print this Recipe

Navy Bean Soup

I use a ham bone from the freezer to flavor this soup. In addition, I also freeze the rind or fat from the ham.  Render some fat from the rind or salt pork to cook the onions in for extra flavor.  You can also use bacon, if you do not have a ham bone or make the whole thing vegetarian.

1 pound navy beans
1 large onion, diced
3  celery stalk sliced
3 large  carrots sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup parsley leaves and stems
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 ham bone (optional)
3 ounces salt pork or ham rind or 3 strips diced bacon or 2T canola oil
8 cups water
1 potato peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
5 grindings black pepper freshly ground

1. Soak beans overnight covered in 2 quarts of water OR  bring to boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.  Drain and rinse beans.

2. In a soup pot, add optional salt pork or canola oil.  Cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add drained beans, ham bone, celery, carrots, parsley stems, thyme, bay leaf and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes, add in potato and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for an additional 45 minutes or until beans are tender and begin to split.

4. Remove the bone, the ham rind and the thyme sprigs. Puree all or part of the soup in a blender in batches.  If you want some texture, leave about 1/3 of the soup and mix it with the other 2/3 that has been pureed.

5. Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley leaves.

Servings: 10    311 calories per serving

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