Ham is expensive. Especially if you want an uncured healthier selection. So of course you could use ham in this recipe but I wanted to try something different that wasn’t so expensive. Or bacon is another good option. And I only use half the amount of sausage but you can use the whole amount. I like to save half for next time, or use it for breakfast! 🙂 Homemade chicken broth is always preferred, but not required of course. It does make it taste SO much better though. And of course you can do this in the crockpot too. (For a vegetarian option, leave out the meat and use a veggie broth instead.)
Two Ways to Soak Beans – Overnight and the Quick Soak Method:
For the Overnight Method, add the beans to a large bowl, cover with water and let sit overnight. You will want extra water on top because the beans will soak up the water during the night. Drain and rinse well. For the Quick Soak Method, add the beans to a pot and cover with water by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Then drain and rinse well.
- 1½ cups dry navy beans
- smoked pork sausage (mine was 12 oz) - I only use half but you can use whole
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken broth (homemade preferred)
- 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp parsley
- salt & pepper (sprinkle desired amount)
- ⅛ - ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Other Options: diced tomatoes, butternut squash, zucchini
- Soak the beans. There are 2 methods for this, either overnight or the Quick Soak Method (see above for further info). Drain the beans and rinse well.
- Cut up the sausage into circles or chunks (I cut them in half now).
- In a large stockpot cook the sausage, chopped onion, and garlic on medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, the beans, and all the remaining ingredients, stir. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and cover.
- Cook for about 2 hours, or just until the beans are soft, stirring occasionally. (The beans should mash easily.)
I have also made this soup using a different kind of bean (pinto) and ham instead of sausage. It was just as good!
And my daughter took some for lunch in her Soup Thermos!
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