Navy Bean Soup


Navy Bean Soup

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Navy bean soup may be the ultimate cold weather soup and fall is upon us. Throw in some cornbread, garnish with a few slices of pickled jalapeno (my guilty pleasure) and you have something special.

I recommend being selective and prudent when trying to “elevate” what is meant to be a simple dish. This is one that requires sticking to the basics to allow the main ingredient to shine.

Why They Are “Navy Beans”

It’s because they are a staple of the U.S. Navy and have been since the mid 1800’s. My father-in-law was a cook during World War II and told me stories about how they were served on the U.S.S. Lexington. They were used in soups of course, but they also used them to make baked beans and drum roll please, pie. Yes, navy beans were used in a custard style pie.

A Bit of Trivia

The U. S. Senate dining room, where Arkansas cheese dip soundly defeated Texas queso, has served navy bean soup since the early 1900’s. On September 14, 1943 there was none available because of a bean shortage in the midst of the war. That day remains the only exception.

  • Author: TJ
  • Yield: 4-8 servings 1x




  • 1 lb navy beans – soak overnight – drain – rinse
  • 1 large yellow onion – diced
  • 6 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 carrot – coined and chopped
  • 1 TBL dried thyme leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Mild deli jalapeno slices – garnish
  • Diced red onion – garnish optional
  • Cornbread – get the recipe here!


  1. Sear the ham hock in olive oil on medium high heat – cover and turn every 2-3 minutes until all sides are browned
  2. Lower the heat to medium low, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook both for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring to avoid burning
  3. Raise the heat, add the remaining ingredients: chicken broth, water, carrot, bay leaf, cumin and beans
  4. Bring to a boil , then reduce and simmer for 60 minutes
  5. Pull the ham off the bone, remove the bone and the bay leaf
  6. Simmer for 30 more minutes and add water if necessary
  7. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree part of the beans to your desired consistency
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Serve with sliced deli jalapenos, diced red onion and cornbread

Ham Hocks and Chicken stock Simmering soup

navy bean soup 2 Cornbread 1

Navy Bean Soup main Navy Bean Soup