Nautical Navy Bean Soup

Makes 8 servings

In the late 1990s, I discovered that my dogs Governor and Senator loved beans. After I learned that beans are actually good for dogs, I decided to create a soup recipe for them. To this day, Little Man, Cappy, and Senny love my navy bean soup. This soup will keep in an airtight container for 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. I never let my dogs eat the ham bone, but if I'm going to freeze the soup (or, for that matter, refrigerate it), I always store it with the ham bone in it because the bone continues to flavor the soup.

3 1/2 quarts water, divided
2 whole tomatoes
1 pound (2 cups) dried navy beans
1 meaty ham bone, about VA pounds
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup chopped carrots

1. In a saucepan, bring 1 quart water to a boil. Drop in one whole tomato, blanch for 3 minutes, and then drop
    the tomato into cold water. Repeat with the second tomato. Under cold water, peel the tomatoes. On a clean
    cutting board, cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Then dice the tomatoes and set them aside.

2. Bring 2XA quarts water to a boil in a large stockpot. Boil the beans for 2 minutes; then remove from heat and
    let them stand for 1 hour.

3. Add the ham bone to the beans, cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until almost tender.

4. Add the potatoes, celery, carrots, and blanched tomatoes and simmer for 1 hour longer.

5. Remove the ham bone, cut off the meat, dice it, and add the meat back to the beans. Let cool to room
    temperature and serve.

All About Blanching

Blanching is a cooking term that means to put a food into rapidly boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the skin starts to peel off, and then take it out and run it under cold water. Blanching is used to help remove the skin of tomatoes and some fruits. Placing them in very cold water right away stops the cooking process.




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