I got a great big double-helping of frugal food joy yesterday. As a matter of fact, it kinda made me laugh. My menu plan this week had lots of meals made from our leftover Sunday ham. I was pleasantly surprised by my family’s favorite. It was one of the most frugal meals possible: Navy Bean Soup. It was simple. It was easy. It was a huge hit! After my husband finished off the last bowl as a late night snack, he said that it was the best soup he had ever eaten. EVER. He even
threatened suggested that he would take me to the restaurant where he works so I could teach them how to make the perfect pot of bean soup. Instead, I thought I’d share the recipe here. His chefs are welcome to take a peak!
On another frugal note, I discovered that I could get a second pot of soup out of the same ham bone. Go figure! After I picked all the meat off the bone to add it back to the soup, I decided to do a little experiment. I put the empty bone in the crock-pot, covered it with water, and let it brew for several hours. The longer it cooked, the better it got. It turned out to be a little less flavorful than the first time around, but it will be nice to have it ready in the freezer for our next pot of beans-which will be soon if my husband has his way!
Best Ever Navy Bean Soup
1 pound dried navy beans
Ham bone (for a little different flavor, you can substitute ham hocks or a little bit of bacon grease)
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine or passed through a garlic press
Rinse and sort the beans. Put in a large pot and cover with two inches of hot water. Cook on high, bringing to a quick boil. Boil for two minutes. Then cover and remove from heat. Let set, covered, for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
Return beans to the rinsed pot. Cover with 8 cups of water and add the ham bone. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Begin checking them after 1 hour, then after every ten minutes until done. The beans should be soft, but not mushy. Be careful, they go from “almost done” to “too done” very quickly.
When the beans are cooked to your taste, reduce the heat to low and remove the bone to a plate to cool. When cooled enough to handle, pick the meat from the bone and cut into small pieces. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and celery and cook until tender, but not browned. If they seem to be browning before they are soft, turn the stove down slightly and add a spoon of the soup broth or some water to the pan. When the veggies are softened, add the garlic and cook for about thirty seconds until fragrant. Add the vegetable mixture and meat to the soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!