Kahakai Kitchen, I knew I had to make it. I ate few legumes as a child, but navy beans were something I enjoyed. A bowl of navy bean soup and a butter sandwich was my idea of a perfect meal. What I should have realized when I saw the recipe was that I was making soup for the neighborhood. After a hearty dinner and leftovers for lunch, I sent some to DSO's mother and still had a huge bowl to freeze for another time. You may want to cut the recipe in half unless you are planning to feed a crowd.
From The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather (as featured on Deb's Kahakai Kitchen)
Makes 8 very generous servings
2 lbs (about 5 cups) dried navy beans
1 1/2 lbs smoked ham hocks
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp dried thyme or summer savory
salt and freshly ground pepper
Sort the beans by spilling them onto a baking sheet and removing any debris and broken beans. Transfer the beans to a colander and rinse the beans with hot water until slightly whitened. Pour the beans into a large pot with a lid and add 2 quarts hot tap water. "Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Drain the beans by pouring into a colander in the sink; rinse with cold water. Return the beans to the pot.
Add the ham hocks, onion, carrots, and 2 quarts hot tap water and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 3 hours. Remove the ham hocks and set aside to cool. Allow the soup to continue to simmer.
Remove the meat from the ham hocks. Dice the meat and return to the soup, discarding the gristle and bones. Add the thyme or savory. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes longer, then serve.
This tasted every bit as delicious as I knew it would and would be a great soup to make in the slow cooker--just fix it and leave it on slow for 5-6 hours. If you've only ever eaten navy bean soup in a can or at a diner (where it comes from a can), you will notice how much more subtle the flavors are. Leftovers will generally need to be thinned out--use water or broth. A delicious and economical way to feed a crowd.