navy-beansThis has been one of my favourites since I was a kid. Mom makes it fairly often and we normally eat it just as a soup, although many people also like it over rice. As kids we put ketchup in it.

Serves 4

  • 450g dry white navy beans soaked overnight in enough cold water to cover
  • 225g smoked sausage, finely chopped
  • 1 large, meaty ham bone sawed into 5cm lengths (your butcher will do this if you ask)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, green parts only, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, broken in half
  • Salt, black pepper & cayenne (I like to use both ground and flaked cayenne)

Drain the beans and put them in a large heavy pot with all the other ingredients. Cover with 2 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours. The beans should be very soft and the soup thick. Remove the ham bones from the soup with a slotted spoon.

Remove about 3 cupfuls of whole beans (don’t worry if you pick up a few bits of sausage etc as well) and mash them roughly in a bowl with a potato masher before returning to the pot.

Stir the soup well before serving (with ketchup or not).

navy bean soup

Buy The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food by Sarah Savoy here.