Both of my Dad’s parents died recently, within 2½ weeks of each other. My family has been doing lots of reminiscing lately, telling and re-telling all our favorite stories. But aside from stories, there’s also those little things. Just stuff you remember about them, or remember them doing. That’s where this soup comes in.
My grandparents were part of our regular childcare routine, so my siblings and I were over at their house a lot as kids. Now, if my Grandpa was going to make a meal for himself, a likely bet would be bean soup. This was generally met with eyerolls from my Grandma: “you and your bean soup.”
I really don’t remember the specifics of the soup. And I doubt there even were specifics aside from dump beans in a pot, heat. So this is my take on a standard ham and bean soup. It is certainly not how my Grandpa would have made it himself, but I think he would have enjoyed a bowl.
“Ham” and Bean Soup
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons + ½ teaspoon liquid smoke, divided
- ¼ cup soy curls, chopped small
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 cups vegetarian “no-chicken” broth
- 2 15-ounce cans Navy beans*
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the water, salt, and 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke until the salt is dissolved. Add the soy curls. Let sit.
- Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the oil. Once shimmering, add the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Sweat for 5 minutes.
- Add the broth, beans, remaining liquid smoke, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the soy curls and add to the pot. Simmer another 30 minutes. Serve.
*Use the entire contents of the can, liquid and all. Otherwise the broth seems too thin. In fact, it’s nice to mash some the beans too.