Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Navy Bean Soup

A few weeks back, at the Commons Lunch in Little Compton, Rhode Island, I had a steaming bowl of delicious navy bean soup. I’ve kept thinking about how good it was and how I wanted to reproduce it for my family. I came very close last night so I thought I would share this success.

Rinse well a package of dried navy beans and then place them in a pot of cold water. Bring this pot to a rolling boil and boil for two minutes and then turn off the heat, cover, and let it stand for a hour.

In a much bigger soup pot sweat, in about two tablespoons of good olive oil, one finely-chopped onion, two finely-chopped stalks of celery, two cleaned and finely-chopped carrots and a hand full of finely-chopped parsley. If you have some left over ham use it, but I bought a bone-in ham steak and cut it into pieces. Add the ham (and bone) to the soup pot along with 6 peppercorns and 6 allspice berries and about a good two quarts of water. No salt yet! Start boiling this mixture and, when the beans are ready, add them along with their soaking liquid. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for a good two hours.

Next take a 15.5 ounce can of stewed tomatoes and, after chopping up the tomatoes, add it to the soup. Now, add salt to taste (less than a teaspoon). If need be, retrieve the ham pieces and mince them finer. Remove the bone, but add the marrow and the minced ham back to the pot.  Re-cover and simmer for another half hour.

Serve with crusty bread and butter. (Even my wife loved this soup and she hates beans.)

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