Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple White Bean Soup and Cornbread

Hot soup and a cold day.

I've used this recipe for more than 10 years, and it never disappoints. It is so very simple too. It doesn't matter if you use canned Navy Beans, or dry ones, this is an easy and hearty meal that is perfect for winter.

Now, I use dry beans. The biggest reason is to control the sodium content, but I have found that Kroger's Private Selection of organic canned beans have a super low sodium content. I have used those in a pinch, but I prefer to use dry beans -- if I can remember to soak them overnight!!

There isn't a huge difference in the nutritional value between canned and dry beans, but there are indeed some differences which leads to dry beans being the better nutritional choice if that is something you look at, as I try to do.

The biggest difference nutritionally is the sodium content. Well, as well as heavy metals absorbing into your food from the cans. Dry beans have, well, zero sodium. For us, that is a huge deal since hubby has high blood pressure. Most things that come in cans contain astronomically high sodium content, yet as I listed above, Kroger does make canned beans that actually have a low sodium content if you'd rather use that in a pinch.

Personally, I also think there is a huge taste difference, again with the dry beans winning out. Dried beans are also so much cheaper. And, quite honestly, they're more nutrient dense than canned.

Just take a small amount of time to soak the dry beans while you are sleeping, and you will have the better option.

And, you know, if you aren't at work all day and think in the morning, "Bean soup for tonight sounds good but I didn't soak them!" Never fear. You can do as I am doing today, and 1:30pm when I decided that I was going to make bean soup for tonight.

You can do what is called a "Quick Soak". Take the dried beans and cover them with cold water, Heat to boiling, and let boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let stand for an hour.

Then, you are ready to cook with them, which will take about 2 hours or so to simmer on the stove. Even getting started at 1:30, I will have delicious bean soup made from dried beans (that I forgot to soak) by dinner time!

If you DO go to work all day, the beauty is you can soak the beans overnight in the crock pot and in the morning just thrown in a ham hock, turn on high and leave while dinner cooks itself as you busy yourself away for the day! All you'll have to do is whip up some cornbread, and you have dinner!


  • 1-lb dry navy or great northern beans
  • ham hock


  1. Rinse beans carefully to remove any dirt or rocks that may be present.
  2. Cover in a crock pot with 6-8 cups of cold water. Let soak overnight, or at least 6-8 hours.
  3. Add ham hock to crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

Skillet Cornbread:

  • Finely ground pure cornmeal, yellow or white (about 2 cups)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of oil

While making batter, add a well greased, cast iron skillet to the oven to heat it up.

  1. Beat egg, then add bakingsoda, baking powder and mix.
  2. Add buttermilk, oil and salt.
  3. Add cornmeal slowly to make a medium thick batter.
  4. Remove cast iron skillet from oven, and add batter to cast iron skillet and bake at 450 for about 15-20 minutes. Watch closely.

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