My Knott’s Berry Farm Cookbook is dated 1980 so I wondered just how its Navy Bean Soup recipe would stack up against today’s interpretations. Nearly 35 years later I have learned those vintage recipes can be hard to beat: plain and simple, hearty and satisfying. We loved this version, and that was just First Day judgment. Can hardly wait for Day Two leftovers! Hurry, Tomorrow!
Salt & pepper to taste (NOTE: Salt is not really necessary. Taste for seasonings before you add any additional herbs or soup flavorings you like - dried red pepper flakes, ground cumin, butter)
Use the Quick Soak bean method on package, or soak beans overnight if preferred.
Place hambone or hamhock in large soup kettle or stock pot, along with diced ham and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1/2 hour while you prepare vegetables.
Strain soaking water from beans, then add beans to stock pot with onions, garlic, celery, carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme.
Bring again to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered 2 or more hours until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add additional broth if soup is too liquid, or add roux (2 tablespoons flour to 1 tablespoon oil ) if desired. Remove hambone or hamhock and cool slightly; cut ham bits away from bone and fat; dice and add ham back to soup pot; discard bones and fat trimmings. Taste soup for seasonings and adjust to taste.