This is my first attempt at cooking with fresh navy beans and smoked ham hock. The soup turned out very tasty, but I think I’ll try 2 ham hocks next time to add a more smokey meat flavor to the broth. Also, I’m a full believer of changing recipes to go with my current inventory of ingredients, so this is not a traditional navy bean soup.
The fresh navy beans were purchased at the JFX Farmer’s Market. I have yet to try dry navy beans, but there are plenty of recipes online that provide direction on how to rehydrate them – it takes planning ahead or more prep time though, so purchasing the fresh ones is more convenient.
- Ham hock – Smoked ham hocks tend to be very salty. Therefore, I soaked mine to reduce the sodium. Soak the hock in water for about 2 hours, change the water at least once.
- In a large pot, add the tomatoes, navy beans, ham, carrots, squash, onion, ham hock, broth, water, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
- If you like a thicker soup, which I do, puree 2 cans of white kidney beans with a half cup of water in a food processor or blender. Add to the pot. (Note: I added it in the middle of simmering, when I decided I wanted a thicker texture. I’m fairly certain that adding it to the beginning wouldn’t negatively affect the taste.)
- Remove ham hock once the soup is ready and throw out.
- 1.5 lbs of fresh navy beans
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- 2.5 cups of water
- 4 cups of reduced sodium, low fat chicken stock (I highly recommend Trader Joe’s brand – great taste)
- 1 cup of ham, chopped
- 1 smoked ham hock (found in the meat section of the grocery store) (I think next time, I’ll used 2 hocks)
- 1 squash chopped (optional)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cans of white kidney beans (optional)
- 2 chopped Korean peppers (optional – substitue any hot pepper if you like spice)
- fresh ground pepper to taste