This soup has been a favorite of my family for years. I like to consider the recipe a general guideline which is forgiving and lends itself to modification depending on the cook. If you make this recipe as it stands, it is wonderful. Don't get too hung up on what ham you put in, but I think the post-Easter ham bone which still bears meat is the best for me. Pork hocks are good if you like a smokey flavor. Honey glazed ham works great when you want the hint of sweetness for your sweetie pie! Sometimes I buy a simple cooked ham-in-a-foil-bag at Costco or Sam's and add a bit of brown sugar and honey to the soup! (The ham that doesn't get used gets portioned and frozen for the next batches I make!)
- 1 cup dried navy beans
- 1 1⁄2 lbs meaty ham bone or 1 1⁄2 lbs smoked pork hocks, which are meaty
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1⁄2 cup sliced celery
- 1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon granules
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (crush it up)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups chopped rutabagas or 2 cups turnips or 2 cups parsnips
- 1 cup sliced carrot
- Rinse beans. In a large sauce pan (6 quart), add beans and 5 cups room temperature water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. (You can always prepare the beans your way or according to the package).
- Drain and rinse the beans. In the same pot, add 5 cups of fresh water to the beans. Add the pork, onion, celery, chicken bullion, parsley, thyme and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover the pot and cook for 1 3/4 hours.
- Remove the pork to a plate to cool off. Add the carrots. Add the rutabaga or turnip or parsnip and simmer covered for 15 minutes or until tender.
- While the soup is simmering for the last 15 minutes, cut, pull or chop the pork into course pieces then add it back into the soup and turn off the heat.
- Let it rest for as long as you can hold out, then serve with some nice warm bread with butter on it. Yum.