This is my recipe for Navy bean, sausage, and beer soup. It’s a modification of the Dried Bean Soup recipe from the 1964 edition of “Joy of Cooking” (p. 152). I searched the internet for Navy bean soup recipes and found a couple interesting variations on the general theme. One recipe used smoked pork sausage instead of the usual ham hock, and I adopted that idea. Some recipes also cooked the beans in chicken stock and I used that idea, too. Then, of course, I added beer. I used cheap beer, left over from grilling, but any malty beer would probably work just as well.
I’ve made this soup twice now, once with Navy beans and once with lima beans. Probably any kind of white bean would work. I made both batches using triple the amount of ingredients listed below and yielded about a gallon (~4 L). Soup freezes well, so now I have a ton of leftovers that I can reheat whenever I want.
So, enjoy the recipe and don’t worry – I’ll post something brewing related later today.
Navy Bean, Smoked Sausage, and Beer Soup
INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings)
1.0 lbs. (450 g) dried Navy beans (soaked 2–4 hours)
24 fl. oz. (710 mL) chicken stock
12 fl. oz. (355 mL) Pilsner beer
2 smoked pork sausage links (chopped)
1/2 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 carrot (chopped)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1/2 yellow onion (finely chopped)
3 Tbsp. parsley leaves (finely chopped)
salt (to taste)
cracked pepper (to taste)
Soak the beans until they are soft, or almost so. Place them in a slow cooker and add the chicken broth and beer. Add water, if needed, so the beans are covered. Cut the sausage into bite-sized chunks and place in slow cooker. Add bay leaf and cloves and begin cooking the soup on high. Set a timer for 3 hours. The remaining ingredients are added in the last 30 minutes. In the final 30 minutes, mince the garlic, finely chop the onion and parsley, and chop the carrot and celery. (In other words, cut everything into sizes that are reasonable for soup.) Stir these in and continue cooking. (If the the soup has too much liquid in it, remove the slow cooker lid and let the liquid evaporate. Conversely, if the beans have soaked up too much liquid, add more water.) When the soup is ready, add salt and pepper to taste. (Note: the chicken broth will likely have been fairly salty; taste the soup before adding salt.) Finally, take one third to one half the volume of the soup and run it through a food processor. Or better yet, if you have one of those Cuisinarts on a stick, use that. Stir the puréed soup back into the beans and you’re done.