The finished navy bean soup. Photo: CC-turtlemom4bacon
Few things will actually make me pray for stormy weather. A rich and hearty soup is the perfect excuse to stay in and warm your bones. Infused with fresh herbs and salty, tender ham, this navy bean soup is wonderful during the winter months but makes a delicious and filling meal any time of year. Scrumptious on its own, the soup also pairs nicely with a thick slice of gluten-free bread. This recipe can feed up to 10 people depending on the serving size and presents beautifully when ladled into warmed bowls.

Ingredients:
1 pound navy beans (rinsed and drained)
5 sprigs fresh parsley
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 quarts water
2 large smoked ham hocks or a meaty ham bone
1 medium yellow onion (coarsely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 medium carrot (scrubbed and chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Kitchen twine

Directions:
Place beans in a large saucepan and cover with water by about 2 inches. After bringing to a boil, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for about an hour. Drain and set aside. Tie herbs in a bundle with the twine.

In a Dutch oven or large stock pot combine water, beans, herb bundle, ham hocks, onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Bring to a boil and lower heat to allow for a gentle simmer. Cook soup about 1½ hours or until beans and hocks are completely tender.

Turn off heat and carefully remove hocks and herbs. Cool enough to be able to remove meat. Discard bones, fat skin and herbs. Cut meat into cubes and return to soup.

Puree about 2 cups of beans with a touch of the liquid in a blender. It’s okay if some of the vegetables make it into the blender. Stir the puree back into the soup. Heat the soup about 5 more minutes and ladle into bowls to serve.

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