This navy bean soup recipe pairs the smooth taste of navy beans with the bold and delicious flavor of smoked sausage.
Navy beans are small and the color of creamy buttermilk. They contain nutrients beneficial for the health of your heart, digestive system, and even your brain function. Plus…a cup of navy beans blesses your body with about 15 grams of hunger-fighting protein.
The recipe below guides you through the preparation of using dried beans instead of canned. It's a satisfying process which yields beans with superior texture and full flavor. And of course, superior texture and full flavor help you create a finer quality soup.
Sorting and rinsing the beans can be a soothing experience. Beans tumbling and sliding. Singing and pinging as they bounce. Fingers mining through gems clearing away the pebbles. Cool water rushing over busy hands like a mountain stream. The prepping process takes but a few extra minutes yet yields flavorful results.
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Before the dried beans are set on the stove to slow simmer, they are soaked in water. Pre-soaking the beans not only softens them and shortens the cooking time, but it also makes them easier to digest.
While not everyone agrees with the idea of soaking beans in salt water, America’s Test Kitchen says it is more effective than using plain water and results in a creamy bean wrapped in a soft skin.
It is best to drain and rinse the soaked beans under cold water to eliminate the added sodium and the complex carbohydrates that have accumulated in the water. Many people find that cooking beans in the same soaking water causes them to experience unnecessary digestive discomfort. And nobody wants that!
1 pound dried navy beans, sorted and rinsed
2 cups chicken stock, homemade preferred (chicken stock recipe)
1/2 cup water
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage link, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1. Sort - Sort through dried beans and discard any which are discolored. As beans are a natural food, be aware that on occasion, small pebbles or other debris can slip through the sorting process.
2. Rinse - Place beans in a colander or strainer and rinse with cold water. Transfer rinsed beans to a large pot and cover with at least two inches of clean, cold water.
3. Soak -Allow the beans to soak at room temperature overnight, but less than 24 hours.
(Here is an alternate quick method of soaking: Bring contents to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Leave covered for at least one hour.)
4. Drain and Rinse - Pour soaked beans into a colander or strainer to drain and rinse under cold water.
5. Add - Transfer rinsed beans to a 4-quart soup pot. Add chicken stock, water, onion, garlic, basil, black pepper, and salt.
6. Cook - Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Remove from heat.
7. Using a ladle, place half of the beans in a large bowl and set aside.
8. Purée - With an immersion blender, purée the beans remaining in the pot. When the mixture is smooth, return the reserved beans to the pot leaving them whole.
9. Add - Add the sliced sausage and undrained diced tomatoes; heat on medium-low for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
10. Garnish - Top each bowl of this navy bean soup recipe with some beautiful, minced parsley.
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"How to Cook Rice, Grains, and Beans." In The America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Great Cook, edited by America's Test Kitchen, 179-215. Brookline, MA: America's Test Kitchen, 2013.
McGee, Harold. "Meat." In On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, 118-178. New York: Scribner, 2004.
"Navy Beans." The World's Healthiest Foods. Accessed December 17, 2015. http://whfoods.org.
Rombauer, Irma S., Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. "Meat." In Joy of Cooking, 462-522. New York: Scribner, 2006.