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.


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
  • 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
  • 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 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 

IMG_2374  DSC_7437

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