Last night we had some of the best crock pot soup ever.... and I'm not even exaggerating! It was totally by accident too. Here's how it happened:
Wednesday night before I headed off to bed I put a one pound bag of dry navy beans in a big bowl filled with water to soak. When I got up the next morning I dumped the beans into a colander to drain and returned them to the rinsed out bowl and refilled it with water.
In the meantime I put some some strips of bacon that had been liberally rubbed down with light brown sugar on a pan and into the oven to bake. At this point the intention was to make a spin on good ole Bean & Bacon Soup.
When the smell of that brown sugar caramelized bacon started permeating the house my husband quickly made his way to the kitchen (surprise, surprise). While I had my back turned chopping onions and draining the beans agains he ate the bacon. I'm not talking about he just ate a piece or two, I'm talking about he ate ALL of the bacon. HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO ME? Especially in the middle of trying out a new recipe! His answer to that was "First of all.... the bacon is just too good to be left sitting around for every stray dog in the neighborhood to be gettin' a whiff of. Second, who's ever heard of sweet bacon soup?"
That forced me to use smoked sausage in place of the bacon. It turned out wonderfully.... so at this point I must say "Thanks honey, without you I couldn't have done this!"
Now, on to the recipe"
- (1) 1 pound bag of dry navy beans, rinsed and soaked overnight (at least 8 hours) in water
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cups of chicken stock or broth, just enough to barely cover the beans
- 1 pound of smoked sausage sliced and then slices quartered
- 2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
Turn a 5 - 6 quart crock pot to high. While it's heating is when I peeled and chopped the onions. Add the onions when finished chopping and place the lid back on. The onions will sweat and cook a little bit while you're preparing the other ingredients (and this step may have contributed to this soup totally rocking, I'm just saying).
Drain the beans in a colander. Since the crock pot is already heating you'll want to rinse the beans in hot tap water. You're also going to want to heat the chicken broth in the microwave for a few seconds to knock the chill off. You NEVER want to put cold ingredients into a hot crock pot ~ there could be serious problems (and yes, I'm speaking from experience....unfortunately).
After placing the beans and chicken stock in the crock pot, cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours or low for 6 - 8 hours. When the beans are fork tender add the smoked sausage, ground black pepper and Worcestershire sauce and stir to incorporate. Heat for an additonal 30 minutes to an hour to heat the sausage all the way through.
After I put the remaining ingredients in I whipped up a batch of cornbread to go with our soup. It was a yucky, cold, rainy night so this was the perfect supper. There is just something about a slow cooked bean soup to warm you up from the inside out!