Navy Bean Soup: A Hearty and Economical Dish from the Depression Era
In these uncertain times, it’s important to be prepared for anything that may come our way. The idea of self-reliance and being able to sustain ourselves during difficult times has never been more relevant. One way to ensure you have enough food on hand is by stocking up on ingredients that have a long shelf life, such as dried beans.
Today, I want to share with you a traditional recipe from the Depression era that is not only delicious, but also easy on the budget. Navy Bean Soup is a hearty and nourishing dish that can be made with ingredients commonly found in most pantries. By learning how to prepare this simple yet satisfying soup, you can add another tool to your self-reliance arsenal.
Why Navy Bean Soup?
During the Great Depression, families often had to make do with what little they had. Navy beans were a staple in many households due to their affordability and versatility. Not only are navy beans packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, and iron, but they also have a long shelf life when stored properly.
Having a supply of dried navy beans in your pantry means you’ll always have a reliable source of protein that can be transformed into a nutritious and filling meal. The beauty of this soup is that it requires simple, basic ingredients that are likely already in your kitchen.
- 1 pound dried navy beans
- 1 ham hock or 1 cup diced ham
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start by rinsing the navy beans under cold water and removing any debris.
- In a large pot, combine the beans, ham hock (or diced ham), diced onion, carrots, celery, minced garlic, bay leaf, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Add enough water to cover all the ingredients by about an inch.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
- Once the beans are cooked to your desired tenderness, remove the ham hock (or diced ham) and bay leaf from the pot.
- Using a spoon or immersion blender, partially mash some of the cooked beans to thicken the soup.
- Return the ham hock (or diced ham) to the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Stockpiling for the Future
Having a supply of dried beans, like navy beans, in your pantry can provide you with a sense of security during uncertain times. Beans are not only an excellent source of protein, but they are also incredibly versatile. From soups and stews to salads and dips, beans can be used in a variety of dishes.
Consider adding dried beans to your emergency stockpile and learning to prepare hearty recipes like Navy Bean Soup. By taking steps towards self-reliance and preparing for the unexpected, you are better equipped to face whatever challenges may come your way.
Remember, the key to self-reliance is not just having the necessary supplies, but also the knowledge and skills to utilize them effectively. Learning simple, frugal recipes like Navy Bean Soup can be a step towards self-sufficiency and a more prepared future.