- 1 pound dried navy beans
- 1 ham hock (or ham bone)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Prepare the Beans:
- Rinse the dried navy beans in cold water and remove any debris or stones. Place the beans in a large bowl, cover with water, and soak them overnight. Drain and rinse the soaked beans before using.
- Sauté Vegetables:
- In a large soup pot, heat a bit of oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add Ham Hock and Beans:
- Place the ham hock in the pot with the sautéed vegetables. Pour in the drained navy beans.
- Pour in Broth and Seasonings:
- Add the chicken or vegetable broth, bay leaf, and dried thyme to the pot. Stir to combine. You can season with salt and pepper at this point, but go easy on the salt since the ham hock will add saltiness.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 2 to 2.5 hours or until the beans are tender and the meat on the ham hock is falling off the bone. Stir occasionally.
- Remove Ham Hock:
- Carefully remove the ham hock from the pot. Allow it to cool slightly. Once it’s cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard any bone, fat, or skin. Return the shredded ham to the pot.
- Adjust Seasonings:
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Remove the bay leaf.
- Ladle the Bean and Ham Hock Soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve hot with crusty bread.
This soup is rich, hearty, and makes a comforting meal, especially on a chilly day. Enjoy!