I read somewhere that January is National Soup Month, and that suits me just fine! I love making soup! There is something therapeutic about putting a pot of soup on in the morning and “fiddling” with it all day until you get it just right. In the “old days” when we used to have one or two snow days during the winter, my favorite thing to do was start a pot of vegetable beef soup and get some cinnamon rolls ready to put by the fire to rise. Oh my goodness, those aromas wafting from the kitchen were amazing! I can’t think of a better way to spend a day especially if you also have a great book to read in between the fiddling and the rising.
Navy bean soup is another favorite of mine, probably because it was my dad’s favorite soup. Every time we made the trip to Houston to see him, I fixed a big pot of navy bean soup to take to him. Even when his dementia started to rob him of many things, he still could enjoy that navy bean soup.
I don’t have a recipe for that soup, but I have made it in the same pot for so many years, that there is a permanent “watermark” in it that tells me how much liquid to pour in. In my case, the liquid will be either chicken or beef broth instead of water because I think it adds more flavor. Once I get the liquid in the pot, I add a package of dried Great Northern Beans, some pieces of ham, a couple of stalks of celery chopped into ½ inch pieces, and several carrots cut into one- inch chunks. For seasoning I put in liberal amounts of garlic and onion powder and freshly ground black pepper. I hold off on the salt until the end to see how much the ham salted the soup.
Bring everything to a boil, and then simmer on low for at least 4 hours or until the beans are soft. (If you presoak your beans the cooking time will be less. I usually don’t remember to soak the beans overnight, and they do just fine if you have the time.)
I am not waiting for a snow day to make Daddy’s navy bean soup. It’s going to be simmering in Becky’s Kitchen really soon!
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!