Navy Bean Soup

Total Time:
2 hr 15 min
15 min
2 hr

8 servings

  • 1 pound navy beans, picked over, rinsed and drained
  • 10 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large smoked ham hocks, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cups of cold water
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Butter for garnish
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Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes; remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for one hour. Drain and reserve. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, hocks, onions, and garlic with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans and hock are completely tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Turn off the heat and remove the hocks. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the hocks, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.

Pour into heated bowls, place a small pat of butter on top of each soup, and serve.

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Rich, buttery white wine

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    62 Reviews
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    aside from the absurdity of calling for Kosher salt to go with the ham hocks, this recipe rocks (particularly with, as previously mentioned, some broth and extra garlic).
    Good soup. Carrots must be for counter top decorations because recipe never tells you to add them!
    It was a nice recipe that I modified. All great ingredients! 
    MODIFY: It doesn't mention when to add the celery and carrots though so a first timer with this might be confused. I added at the same time as the onions and garlic.
    What celery?
    My plans changed and I had to dump this into crock pot and cook for awhile. It turned out way to thin the recipe does not call for cooking in a crock pot it is just what I had to do. I know some old crock pot recipes got a little watered down so I'm not sure if that is what happened or if the recipe just calls for too much water (as some reviewers have noted). I used my stick blender on the soup and that helped but it was still too thin.
    Beautifully balanced flavours. The butter highlights the subtle flavours well.
    This was a great soup. I used Chicken broth instead of water and added more Garlic but otherwise followed it and the soup turned out great.
    This recipe is great but I also modified it slightly. I used n extra 1/2 lb. beans and strengthened the spices accordingly, chicken base I also added three healthy sized potatoes diced more carrots and a touch more garlic because I love it, but towards the end I added three to four tablespoons of mesquite liquid smoke. That was the real kicker!
    Three stars as written, 5 stars with modifications. Beef stock and/or veggie stock is a must instead of the water. Also, 8 cups of water was too much liquid -- 6-7 cups of stock produces a much richer, somewhat thicker soup. I also added some diced, cooked ham in the last hour, as the ham hocks didn't have enough meat on them for our tastes. Also, I felt it was a little bland, even with the stock and extra ham, so I used several tablespoons of butter and a lot of salt and pepper. Also, just a personal preference, I find pureeing almost all the solids a must to keep it from being bland and too liquid-y.
    Fantastic soup. Use all the ham asked for. Sprinkle raw red or mild onion at the end for a little crunch and added flavor. 2 year-old loved it!
    I loved this soup and my kids did too. I read the reviews before I started! I also used dried spices (2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1 tablespoon rosemary. I doubled the carrots! It was great with bread.
    I had never made navy bean soup before. I tried this recipe and it was FABULOUS!!!!! The best soup I've ever made. I shared it with all my friends and they love it too. Thank you for a great experience.
    Really enjoyed this soup. Great recipe. This was my first time to cook a navy bean soup so I read reviews and modified recipe to give it a bit more flavor. Like my soups thicker so I reduced the water to 7 cups. I used two cups worth of chicken bouillon cubes. I also like my spices so I used ~6 cloves of garlic, two bay leaves, a generous half teaspoon dried thyme, full teaspoon dried rosemary and other spices as described in the recipe, though I did not tie with twine nor use cheesecloth. I just tossed the spices in the soup. Doubled the carrots, used some of the garlic to sauté the carrots and onions in olive oil in a skillet (~10+ mins med low heat. Toss sautéed veggies in soup and follow the recipe. 
    Served with some garlic bread or Saltines for a scrumptious meal.
    Good -- I'd probably make again but with some changes. Navy beans came out fine as written but take a little prep time. I used fresh rosemary instead of thyme [per the recipe's option], maybe thyme would have been better; about 3/4# of ham shank (just can't "do" ham hocks and about 2/3 through cooking, I added some diced ham. I used organic chicken broth instead of water. It was tasty but not with an overly strong navy bean/ham flavor -- felt that it was missing something savory or depth. Hoping that the leftovers will marry in the frig and be more savory.
    If you want a little more depth to this recipe try adding mesquite liquid smoke. I add heavy portions to it you would be surprised. I also add about three large diced potatoes. But try the mesquite you will like it.
    I used white beans because I couldn't find navy beans in my local grocery store. I also didn't have sprigs of parsley, so I just put parsley flakes in the soup, a bit of thyme, and one bay leaf. It was delicious and my husband loved it, so I'll be making this recipe again!
    Wonderful soup and very easy to make but, I am only rating it 4 stars since the recipe does call for carrots and they forgot to tell you when to add it. :
    Ive been eating Navy Bean Soup my whole life (along time. This is the Best version of what I remember to be one of my favorite meals as a child, with corn bread and butter, honey and YUM. Thanks to Food Network Kitchens for providing such a winner of a recipe, in ease and deliciousness!
    This is a good, basic recipe. I used country ham but might have preferred the ham hock. I did use chicken stock and then a small amount of white miso and very little salt because of the country ham and miso, which seems to add another element to the base. It was great way to welcome the cooler weather.
    It was a hit! I did substitute chicken stock instead of water for more flavor. I also added a couple of celery stalks finely chopped with the carrot. I sauteed the garlic and onion before adding it as well. My friends and family all loved it! It's a keeper.
    I have made this soup twice and my family absolutely loves it!
    First of all, 8 cups of water is way too much. Before I pureed the beans w/the soup I believed this but, went ahead and trusted the recipe. I like my bean soup thick with a lot of beans. I honestly don't know what I could have done other than throw out some of the broth. After cooking ham for Easter, then cooking this soup the week after and now, 2 days later to have to smell this again and honestly, the soup is nauseating to look at. I don't think I'll ever make navy bean soup again. I'll buy the Campbell's. And I'm no beginner. What a waste of time and money.
    Very good! I also used a ham bone I had cooked the night before and substituted broth for the water. Delicious, the family loved it!
    Outstanding! Tastes like good Old Fashion Ham & Bean Soup my Mom made for us when we were kids. I used a ham bone from a whole ham I used for New Years day in place of the ham hocks. Also used homemade chicken broth instead of water. Saute'd onion and garlic, added diced ham at the beginning so it would tenderize. Used thyme (don't care for rosemary in soups and add celery and carrots in the last 20 minute of cooking to prevent them from being over cooked. Mashed the beans a little bit to thicken the soup. Served with homemade French Bread and beer for the adults. Brought me back to the good memories of my Mom outstanding cooking while I was growing up, sadly now afflicted with severe dementia and early Alzheimer's she can no longer cook and some of my favorite recipes she made from scratch are locked forever in her mind. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.
    Yum. What great comfort food. This recipe was my 'base', and an excellent one. 
    My modifications included: 
    2 KEY TIPS:  
    -- Added 8 t. Better Than Bouillon ham base to the 8 cups water-mixed it first w/some boiling water to dissolve. (Was lucky to find it in my local Safeway, but it's available on Amazon. *REALLY* made it flavorful. No salt added to the soup. 
    -- Used a very meaty ham SHANK instead of HOCKS which have very little meat. Butcher cut it into thirds. It produced nearly 3 cups meat. 
    -- Got container of miripoix (already chopped carrot, onion & celery at Trader Joe's (nice labor saver but maybe not worth it for some and sauteed it in butter/oil, adding garlic for 2-3 minutes & then deglazing on high with some Marsala till syrupy 
    --Increased garlic to 6 cloves  
    --Increased amount parsley & used a half bunch thyme & wrapped it in a cheesecloth bundle 
    --Threw it all into a slow cooker: High 4 hours, low 4-5 hours. 
    Great with buttered sourdough bread to dunk. 
    Delicious! I added the carrot when it said to add the onion, garlic, and beans. I am sure they meant for it to go in then, but just forgot to write it in the recipe.
    Tastes good but, when do you add the carrots? I made the recipe exactly as written minus the carrot. Thoughts?
    Excellent recipe. I did the following modifications. 
    Retained 2 cups of water from soaking beans and combined with 6 cups chicken stock. 
    Up-ed the garlic to five cloves 
    Used about 8 sprigs cilantro instead of parsley 
    Used about 12 sprigs thyme 
    Added an additional home brined and smoked ham hock plus the meat from 2 smoked country ribs 
    Added 1 shallot 
    Added two leaks 
    Added 2 small celery stocks 
    Reduced onion to about 2/3rds of a medium onion 
    My family loved this soup. The broth was very flavorful. I used rosemary and added celery (two stalks coarsely chopped), 2 cups of mashed potatoes (for flavor and thickening), and substituted chicken broth for 1/4 the water and vegetable broth for another fourth. The soup is a hit as a leftover lunch or dinner.
    I was totally impressed with this soup. Things I did different and it still taste great was, no hock, just diced ham, rosemary, chicken broth vs water, 2 garlic clove, and no allspice since I didn't have it. I like thicker soup so did spend some time mashing the beans, but overall taste was hearty and satisfying and I would make again. Husband recommends celery too!
    what do you do with the carrot? It doesn't say
    really good - great texture and flavor. Used fresh rosemary and smoked butt (shoulder instead of the ham hocks. I will make this soup again.
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