One of the best things about growing up in Maryland was the proximity to Washington, D.C. and having class trips to the Smithsonian, National Art Gallery, the Memorials, the White House, the Capitol...well I could go on and on. Being exposed to the richness of history in one city gave me a sense of pride and I never tired of the yearly field trips starting as early as 1st grade.
|(photo from the internet)|
Over the last 25 years, since switching my diet to vegetarian, I've had to make my own version of my mother's soup, eliminating the ham hocks that she cooked (until the meat fell off the bone) with the navy beans. Imitating that flavor that has been made since 1903 when Senator Knute Nelson from Minnesota requested the soup to be a part of the lunch meal at the restaurant in the Capitol Building, was no easy feat. However, I think I've come up with a pretty good substitution and I can still have my memories.
Navy Bean Soup (with kale)
2 cups dry navy beans
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 - 2 stalks of celery, diced
2 T olive oil
6 cups water + 3 "Not-Chick'n" bouillon cubes (or substitute 6 cups of vegetable broth)
6 to 8 drops of Liquid Smoke
salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch of fresh kale, washed thoroughly, remove the center stem and chopped (optional)
Wash and pick over the dry navy beans, removing any "stones" or discolored beans. Place in a medium sauce pan and cover with water. Bring beans to a boil, then place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for one to two hours.
Prepare veggies. Place a soup pan or Dutch-oven, over medium heat and after a minute, add the olive oil, then the veggies and saute until soft. Drain the beans and add to the veggie mixture.
Add the water and bouillon (or vegetable broth) and Liquid Smoke and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. Continue to cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. About 15 to 20 minutes before the beans are done, add the kale, if using.
While soup is cooking, make up your favorite cornbread. I've included my easy recipe because I associate this soup with cornbread:-D
1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 375F-degrees. Spray a 6-cup mini bundt pan with baking spray.
In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, mix the egg, milk, melted butter and sour cream, then, add it to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 2 T butter and 2 T honey in a small saucepan. After 18 minutes, remove pan and brush this mixture onto the tops of the cornbread bundt pan.
Return to the oven and bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then turn out onto a parchment-line rack.
Soup was perfect for this weather. What comfort food did you make today with the cold weather outside? Enjoy!