Michigan Navy Bean Soup

I like to make this soup soon after I have made a ham dinner on Easter or any other time of the year.   In the past I have used Honey Baked Ham bones, but this time I used a regular ham bone from the market.    It was very salty even though I was careful about adding any additional salt.

Feb. 16, 2013 – I made this soup again using 2 ham hocks.  It was very good but a little greasy from the hocks.  I did add (at the end of the cooking time) 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt and it was perfect.  Great lunch on a snowy Michigan day!

March 31, 2013 – Using a honey baked ham is still the best choice when I make my navy bean soup!  I will freeze this to make soup another time since I just made it last month.

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April 4, 2018: I used my traditional honey baked ham bone and it was extremely fatty (for me). I skimmed off a lot of unwanted fat as it changed the flavor of the soup too much. Also, be sure to scrape off any “honey crust” left on the ham). I noted this in my recipe to be sure to trim the ham bone if needed.

Originally called Senate Navy Bean Soup, it’s origins are mixed. But the soup has been on the U.S. Capitol’s menu for more than a century. Some accounts attribute it to a resolution pushed by Senator Fred Dubois and the other by Senator Knute Nelson who got the Rules committee to adopt a resolution in 1907. So, basically, both accounts are true. Anyways, this is my version of this century old soup. Some add potatoes to help thicken the soup but I find the beans do that enough. This is a soup you can make your own…

Michigan Navy Bean Soup

  • 1 lb. dried navy beans
  • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • leftover ham bone or you can use 2 ham hocks (be sure to trim off as much fat and extra ham and any “honey crust” still left on the ham before adding to the soup)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups celery, chopped
  • 3 leeks (white and light green part only)
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar (do not add if you are using a honey baked ham bone)
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. savory
  • seasoned salt and or salt to taste after the ham has cooked
  • diced ham from the bone (optional)

Wash beans and remove any bad ones.  Soak the beans in 2 quarts of water overnight.  For a quick soak, boil 2 minutes, remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.  Pour off water; rinse beans and add to a large stockpot.  Add the ham bone (wrap in cheesecloth to prevent small pieces of fat and ham falling into the soup) and the chicken broth.

In a separate skillet saute onions, leeks, carrots and celery in 2 to 3 tbsp. butter over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute or two.  Stir in bay leaf and parsley ; add to the large stockpot and cook covered, for about 2 hours.

Add remaining seasonings (be careful with the salt and seasoned salt – do this to taste); cover and cook for 1 more hour.  Remove any meat or bones from the stockpot.  Cut up the meat and add back to the soup if desired.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 

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