According to Wisegeek, Navy beans are pea sized white beans which can be used in a variety of dishes. These very common beans are known by a variety of alternate names, including haricot beans, Boston beans, pea beans, and Yankee beans, and they are closely related to larger white beans such as Great Northern and cannelloni beans. Most markets carry navy beans, typically in both dried and canned form, and they are also very easy to grow in the garden, if you have a little bit of room.

The flavor of navy beans is fairly mild, and the texture of the beans tends to be fairly dense. The common name “navy bean” is a reference to the fact that the beans were once widely included among the staple supplies of the United States Navy, since dried beans do not go bad, and they provide an excellent source of nutrition. Many classic American bean dishes call for navy beans as a result, since they were so widespread and well known; Boston baked beans, for example, are made with navy beans. So of course I am now researching these recipes to replace my current BBQ bean recipe and get away from using canned products.

My recipe was developed from what I had on hand along with childhood memories of navy beans and ham hocks cooking on the stove. Min from the Bad Girl's Kitchen recently ran a recipe for Ham & Bean soup that is most similar to what my family cooked when I was young. I developed this biscuit recipe after I fell in love with the Red Lobster's cheddar biscuits.

1 ham bone with meat on it
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Frank's red pepper hot sauce
1/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • Soak the beans in room temperature water overnight.
  • Cover ham bone with water. Sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper, salt, thyme sprigs and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours or ham falls off the bone.
  • Strain the stock and separate into 2 separate 8 cup portions. Freeze 1 portion for your next batch of soup.
  • Return the stock to your pan and add the vegetables.
  • Bring to a boil. Add beans and ham pieces. Lower to a simmer for 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle with a few drops of Frank's red pepper sauce and some grated cheese.
  • Serve with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.
2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 clove finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons butter
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  • In a large bowl, combine baking mix, 1 1/4 cups of the Cheddar cheese, minced garlic and garlic powder.
  • Stir in milk.
  • Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • Brush biscuits with melted butter, and sprinkle with parsley, garlic salt and remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.

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