Using up the leftover ham from Easter is always delicious. I carve the ham and save the bone for morning. The next day, it makes the most flavorful soup of the year with a few complimentary ingredients. We look forward to this warm and filling reminder of one of our family's favorite holidays.
Ham and Navy Bean Soup
1 pound dried navy beans
1 box (32 oz) chicken broth (I use Swanson with 33% less sodium)
4 cups water
2½ pounds smoked ham hocks or Hickory Ham Bone with meat
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 bay leaves
2½ cups thinly sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
¾ cup mashed potato flakes (I use butter flavored)
Rinse and sort the navy beans. Place navy beans in a Dutch oven. Add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 hours or until beans are softened.
Drain and rinse the navy beans, discarding the liquid. Return the navy beans to the Dutch oven and add the chicken broth, water, ham hocks, onion, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, pepper nutmeg and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1½ hours or until beans are tender.
Next add the carrots, celery and potato flakes, mixing well. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Take out the ham hocks and place on a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Remove meat and cut into bite-size pieces. Return the ham to Dutch oven and heat through. Enjoy!