This weekend’s weather forecast called for 10 to 15 cm ( 4 to 6 inches) of snow on Nova Scotia’s North Shore. But what started out as fat white flakes on Friday evening turned into heavy sloppy rain all day Saturday. Cold. Damp. Bitter. Chill. You get the idea: ugh.
Fortunately, Beth over at Budget Bytes (“My stomach is full and my wallet is too”) featured a great recipe last month for navy bean soup with sausage & spinach that sounded like just the thing for getting through winter’s last (I hope, I hope) fling with us.
Since I didn’t have smoked sausage on hand, I adapted Beth’s recipe a bit but I still give her full credit. You can get her recipe here, or see my (very slightly) modified version below.
And, by the way, this soup was wonderful: easy to make, beautiful to look at, delicious to eat, filling, and economical. What more could one possibly ask from a recipe? Thank you, Beth!
NAVY BEAN SOUP with SPINACH
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz bacon or ham (I used a combination)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 lb carrots
2 cups dry navy beans
2 whole bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
10 cups water
6 cups fresh spinach
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1. The night before, sort through the beans to remove any stones or debris. Place the beans in a bowl and cover them with cool water. Allow the beans to soak in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Chop the meat and add to a large soup pot along with the tablespoon of oil. Sauté over medium heat until nicely browned.
While the meat is browning, dice the onion and carrot into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Add the onions and carrots to the soup pot. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté a minute or two more.
3. Drain the soaked beans and give them a good rinse with fresh water. Add the rinsed beans to the pot along with the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, pepper, salt, and the water. Stir everything to combine. Cover the pot. Turn the heat up to high and allow the soup to come to a full boil.
4. Once the soup boils, turn the heat down to medium-low to gently boil for 2 to 3 hours. You want the beans to go past the point of tenderness to the point where they are falling apart. Stir the pot occasionally.
5. When beans are of desired consistency, use a large wooden spoon to smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. This will help thicken the soup. Stir in the fresh spinach until wilted. Lastly, stir in the apple cider vinegar. Serve hot.
(This soup reheats well the next day too.)