Thursday, January 24, 2013

Smoked Turkey Navy Bean Soup

Wednesday is a tough day for us to do dinner. The spouse has a scouting meeting in the afternoon, and I have fencing practice in the evening. Often, she's just headed in the door, as I am headed out. Sitting down to a meal together is often impossible. This is where a slow cooker is very handy. I can put a meal in the slow cooker, have some before I leave, and it's there when the spouse is ready to eat. The slow cooker is a great multi-tasker.

Navy bean soup is serious comfort food for me. As a kid, I remember going with my grandparents to a chain of dinners, where you didn't have a waiter, but called in your order over a phone at your booth. The best thing on their menu was navy bean soup, which I had just about every time I ate there.

For this soup, I used smoked turkey neck, instead of the traditional ham hock. I like using smoked turkey, as it gives the soup the great smoky taste, with less fat than you get with a ham hock. This soup is flavored with onion and fresh cilantro. I also added a cup of the chicken stock from the other day.

An important note: Beans must be cooked without salt to become tender. Salted beans will remain hard, no matter how long you cook them.

Smoked Turkey Navy Bean Soup

1 lb. smoked turkey neck
1 lb. great northern white beans
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

The night before, rinse beans in a colander, discarding any spoiled beans and inedible material. Place beans in a large stock pot with 2 quarts of water. Place over medium-high heat. When water just comes to a boil, turn off heat, allow beans to sit over night.

The next day, drain and rinse beans. Place in slow cooker with 2 quarts fresh water. Turn on high, cook covered until beans are tender, about 5 hours. Once beans are tender, add smoked turkey neck, cilantro, and diced onion. Allow to cook for several more hours. Remove necks, strip as much meat as possible from them. Dice the meat, return to cooker. Add salt to taste.

Happy Eating!

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