Sunday, January 16, 2011

I love me some bean soup

You know how when you love a good book you read it over and over again. But, after a while, the binding starts to give and the pages start to separate from the spine. It's a hazard of good literature.

Well, my Cooking Light Every Day Favorites cookbook is getting a lot of love these days...

I brought it to my mom and dad's house so that my dad could pick out the dessert of his choice for his upcoming birthday. (He decided on sweet potato trifle, you'll see that recipe later)

Mom took pity on my poor cookbook and helped me rebind it with her binding machine that she uses for her home business. She lovingly removed each and every page, all 415 of them. Then she taught me how to put the pages in the machine to make the new holes. And finally, we put a new spiral binding on it. It's even better than before! I can open the book and have it stay open instead of having the pages flip all over the place. I couldn't do that before as it wasn't spiral bound. (For the record-whoever decided making cookbooks with rigid bindings clearly didn't cook from the same book every day!)


Now, who wants to know what I've been cookin'?

Anyone who knows even a tiny bit about me knows I LOVE me a good bowl of soup. I enjoy chowders, cold soups, hot soups, stews, clear soups, cream soups, veggie soups... yea, the list just keeps going on. So the fact that this little project of mine comes complete with an entire chapter devoted soup is a definite bonus for me.

I've posted my mom's ham and barley soup before. I always enjoyed when she'd make a big ol' pot of this soup on the weekend. My favorite was always eating the ham hock meat when it was being shredded. YUM.

The first soup recipe I cooked from my CLP happens to be a navy bean soup. It reminds me very much of my mom's soup. It has a fun twist though- kale. And you know what kids? Jon and I love kale. We grew it in our garden last year because we eat so much of it.

Check out these vibrant colors!

This soup would be great with a nice crusty bread. And as most soups do- it gets better as it sits.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Navy Bean Soup
Serves 8-10

8: 295 cal per
9: 263 cal per
10: 219 cal per

2 1/4 cups dried navy beans (about 1 pound)
6 cups warm water
1 small yellow onion, peeled
3 whole cloves
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 thyme sprigs
3 parsley sprigs
3 smoked ham hocks (about 1 1/3 pounds)*
1 bay leaf

3 cups chopped kale (we used 4 cups chopped) **
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 1/2 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
2/3 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans; rinse and drain.

Return beans to pan; cover with 6 cups warm water. Stud whole onion with cloves; place in pan. Add celery, thyme, parsley sprigs, ham hocks, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.

Discard onion, thyme, parsley sprigs, and bay leaf. Remove ham hocks from pan; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; finely chop to yield 1/3 cup meat. Discard bones, skin, and fat. Add meat, kale, potato, chopped onion, carrot, salt, and pepper to pan; stir well. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until beans and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley.

* I used leftover diced, smoked ham. And, because the soup needed a hint more smokey flavor I added just a tiny shot of liquid smoke to the soup. (I know how smoked ham hocks taste in soup. If it's your first experiance with this particular ingredient- definitely give them a try. They are delicious! I just wanted to use up my leftover ham)

** I remove the thick center vein on my kale. I also throw the kale in during the last 10 minutes of cooking only. I like my greens nice and bright. If you choose to leave the thick stem in, be sure to cook your kale for the full 30 minutes to soften it completely.


  1. I would recommend using chicken or ham stock instead of water. I added some ham base to our leftover soup, it gave it a little extra something it was lacking for me. Yum!

  2. Psh, you know. I don't even gotta say ;)