Okay, what could be better than a good hot bowl perfectly cooked and seasoned navy beans….oh, I know, a good hot bowl of perfectly cooked and seasoned navy beans with some good cornbread or corn muffins on the side. I think the two should be married! Click here for my recipe for Perfect Corn Muffins.
I’m also going to show you my little secret for removing the gas from the beans, and when they’re almost done, I’ll show you a second secret ingredient that adds more flavor and creaminess to these beans. When I served up a bowl of these to my hubby, Don, within two minutes I heard the spoon scraping the bottom of the bowl, and “Honey, I’ll take some more”.
Here’s all you do…
Okay, you’ll complete the first and easiest step of the recipe, the night before. You’re gonna dump a large bag of navy beans in a pot and sort through them with your hands a few times, looking for any of those little boogers that look bad so you can throw them away.
Now drain off the water, place the beans in a large pot and cover them with about two inches of water.
Next, you’re gonna add my first little secret ingredient. This is something that my mother always did, and now I do….why? Because it works!!! Yes, that’s right, you’re gonna add in 2 teaspoons of baking soda. No…I’m not crazy here…let me explain. the baking soda is only briefly added in and then rinsed off….what does it do you ask? It gets rid of all of that gassiness in the beans….yes gassiness…you’ll thank me later!!
Okay, now you’re gonna see why I said to use a large pot. You’re gonna place the pot on the stovetop over high heat and let it come to a boil. Note: Do not walk away from the pot, or leave the kitchen!!!! If you do, you’ll be sorry! As soon as the water starts to come to a boil, it’s going to start foaming up like this picture above.
Then it’s going to foam up even bigger….
Then even bigger, until it’s almost ready to bubble up and over the sides. As soon as it gets to this point, turn off the heat and quickly remove the pot from the heat. You’ll notice that the water actually has a sort of green color to it. That’s a good thing! I won’t go into chemistry here, but your digestive system will thank you later. Just take my word for it.
Now pour the beans into a strainer….
Rinse the beans thoroughly to remove all of the baking soda, and rinse out the pot while you’re at it…
Now pour the beans back into the pot, and get ready to season…season…season…
Now take a ham shank with a bone, or you can use a cottage ham as I did here, because that’s all I had on hand, and my closest grocery store is 12 miles away….
Don’t trim this part off….the fat is where all that great flavor is….
Now cut it up into strips and then into bite size pieces…
Add it to the pot…
Now dice up a large yellow onion…
And add it to the pot…
Now, only if you want to….and I do….you can add in some bacon fat…I cut off the end pieces from a package of bacon which are usually mostly fat, and throw them in the pot, then I remove them when the beans are finished cooking….my husband says “leave em n”.
Now toss in a bay leaf…
Cover the beans with about 3 inches of water and add some salt and pepper…
Now place the pot on a large burner and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and place a lid on the pot, cracking the lid just a little, (don’t really crack the lid), you know what I mean… and allow the mixture to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the beans are very tender. Now, are you READY….ready for my second secret ingredient?
Ta Da!!! Yep, Pioneer Brand, Peppered gravy mix….this is the secret ingredient that adds even more flavor but most importantly, creaminess to the beans. The beans are still great without it, but I like the extra creaminess. If you feel the need to add a litter liquid at the end, add a tiny bit of milk.
These Navy Beans are tender, creamy and full of flavor, not gas! Comfort food!!
- 1 large bag or 2 small bags dried navy beans
- 2 ham shanks with bones, or one cottage ham
- Bacon pieces, optional
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 packet of Pioneer Brand peppered gravy mix
- Place the dry beans in a pan and sift through them with your hands. Discard any beans that look bad.
- Run two inches of water over the beans and leave the beans to soak overnight, at least 8 hours.
- Drain the water from the beans. Sift through the beans one more time to check for bad ones.
- Place the beans in a large pot. Cover with one inch of water, and add the baking soda. Bring to a boil over high heat. Watch carefully!! The water will become foamy and start to rise quickly. When this happens, remove the pot from the heat. Rinse the beans thoroughly under cold water and return to the pot.
- Dice the ham up into bite size pieces and add to the beans. Add bacon pieces if desired. Dice up the onion and add in, then the bay leaf. Cover the beans with three inches of water and add the salt and pepper.
- Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are very tender. Add the gravy mix and simmer for an additional fifteen minutes.
- Crockpot Version: To fix beans in a crockpot, either soak the beans overnight or bring beans to a boil and remove from heat. Let beans soak for 1-2 hours. Place in a crockpot on low for eight hours. During the last half hour, add in the gravy mix and a tiny bit of milk if preferred.
- The process of bringing the beans to a boil, removing from heat, and allowing to soak for 1-2 hours is called the quick soak method. This method is quick, however, the quick soak method tends to extract more of the nutrients from the beans than the overnight soak.
- Serving Size: 6