If you are looking for a hearty soup that won’t break the bank, this soup is for you. Filled with tender beans, salty ham and plenty of vegetables, it is a soup that will feed a crowd. The garlic croutons are a welcomed addition that can also be used on any of your other favorite soups or salads.

Navy Bean Soup with Garlic Croutons
By Taylor
Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

2 pounds navy beans
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup peeled chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped garlic
4 ounces dry cured ham, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can good quality crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
12 to 14 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Soak beans in a large bowl with water that covers beans 4 inches overnight. Drain and reserve.

In large stock pot add butter, onion, celery, carrots, garlic and ham. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables soften. Add beans, tomatoes, black pepper, hot sauce, thyme, bay leaves and 12 cups of water.

Stir and bring soup to just below a boil. Turn heat down to simmer and cook soup for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until beans are tender.

When beans are tender, add salt and water, if needed, to bring soup to desired consistency. Remove from heat and serve garnished with garlic croutons.

Garlic Croutons

Ingredients:

5 cups sourdough bread, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place bread cubes on baking sheet.

In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add salt and garlic cloves. Cook butter and garlic mixture over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove garlic from butter.

Pour butter over the bread cubes and toss until well coated. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring the croutons every 5 minutes.

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