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Old Fashioned Railroad Navy Bean Soup

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Serves 20 1 cup portions | Prep Time 90 minutes | Cook Time 2 hours

Why I Love This Recipe

The old fashion navy bean soup is composite recipe from the Denver and Rio Grand Western Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. It is a family favorite.

Ingredients You'll Need


2 pounds navy beans
4 quarts low sodium beef broth
2 smoked ham hocks
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced small
6 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup heavy cream I
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste


I use low-sodium beef broth in the recipe so I can control the amount of salt that gets added to the recipe. I'd rather add salt later than use a heavily salted beef stock or base.

You need an 8-quart stockpot or No. 10 Dutch oven for this recipe. Use a 12-inch deep camp oven if you're cooking over hot coals outdoors.

Pick over beans, removing discolored beans and foreign matter. Wash thoroughly in cold water. Cover beans with beef broth and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour.

Saute onions and carrots and sweat under medium-low heat until soft. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes before adding vegetable mixture to the bean pot.

Bring beans to a boil, cover and simmer 2 hours or until beans are tender. If needed, thicken soup with a flour and paste. Remove ham hocks and remove and chop meat and add back into the pot.

Stir in the heavy cream and parsley just before serving.

Serves 20 (1-cup) portions. When used as the main course, the recipe will only serve 12 to 16 persons. This recipe yields about 5 to 5-1/2 quarts.

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