Navy Bean and Collard Soup

Navy Bean and Collard Soup

Lest we forget that it is still winter here in Utah, the snow came back to remind us that it’s not yet time to pull out the shorts and flip flops. Whatever.

I go barefooted most of the time anyway, at least in the house. Even if my feet are cold, I will not put on shoes or socks. Feet are meant to be free.

When I was a kid I hated shoes. Hated them. Especially, I hated Sunday shoes. They were the bane of my existence. My feet had been hanging free all week and then Sunday would roll around and it meant two horrible things: 1) I would have to wear some ridiculous, over-starched, ironed-crisp dress under which I wore a scratchy “crenoline” so that my dress would poof out,ย  and, 2) I would have to buckle my feet into a pair of black patent leather Mary Janes.

Crenoline photo from–Crinoline-Slip-Adult-Size-Deluxe—1785.html. Mary Janes photo from Etsy @

The real issue with shoes when I was little was that I couldn’t wiggle my toes. I had to be able to wiggle my toes or else the shoes would feel too small. My mother was not sympathetic to my cause. If the shoe-store lady said that a certain pair of shoes were the right size, then by jingo it meant that my mom was going to buy them even if I cried the most bitter tears a child could muster.

The toe wiggling thing is still an issue when I try on shoes. No wiggle, no buy.

Navy Bean and Collard Soup

Although I will not stuff my cold feet into a pair of warm shoes, I will stuff warm, filling, deliciously wonderful soup into my belly when it is cold outside. Soup and winter were made for each other.

This Navy Bean and Collard soup fills me up beautifully. Collards are one of my most favorite greens. Their flavor is robust and can be made even more so with bacon and a touch of vinegar.

Real women eat collards. And beans.

I’ve always been a fan of navy beans and when they tango with collards in this soup, winter seems to melt away. Oooooo…tango. Such an accurate description…

Navy Bean and Collard Soup

Navy Bean and Collard Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Yield: 6 quarts

Hearty and filling, this soup is a nice change from the usual milder flavored soups of winter. The bacon, ham, and collards bring a pleasant, unexpected bite, supported by the sweetness of navy beans and a vegetable quartet. Stir in a little red wine vinegar, if desired, and sprinkle with Parmesan for even more flavor.


  • 2 pounds ham hocks
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 cups chopped collards (2 bunches)
  • 5 (15.5 ounce) cans navy beans or 9 cups cooked navy beans
  • 6 slices regular cut bacon, chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into generous 1/2-inch rounds
  • 3 stalks celery, medium dice
  • 1 medium onion, medium dice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • red wine vinegar, optional


  1. In a large stockpot, put the ham hocks, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover pot, lower heat to medium low or low; simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Add the collards and navy beans to the stockpot. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to a frying pan add the chopped bacon and cook over medium heat until fat has rendered. To the bacon and rendered fat, add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Saute over medium heat just until vegetables are crisp tender, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable mixture and red pepper flakes to stockpot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring back to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, covered, stirring as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference.
  5. Remove ham hocks to a plate or cutting board. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and stir into soup.
  6. To Serve:
  7. Fill soup bowls with soup. Pass the grated Parmesan cheese and red wine vinegar, allowing each guest to season their soup as desired.


The red wine vinegar is optional, but recommended. Add several drops, or desired amount, to each bowl of soup and stir. Sprinkle soup with Parmesan cheese or other tart cheese such as Kerrygold's Dubliner.

Navy Bean and Collard Soup

You may also like:

Smokey White Bean Chicken Chile
Smokey White Bean Chicken Chile
Minestroni Soup
Minestroni Soup
Simple Beef Stew
Simple Beef Stew


  1. says

    You kill me ;). I didn’t mind crinoline or mary janes, but I absolutely hated the frilly bottom tights she would put on me. I can remember the sharp nylon threads jabbing my tuckus. Hate, hate, hated them!! So tell me, how do you feel about slippers?? I love slippers… they’re like a hug for my soul. Nothing better than slippers on my cold feet…. and a bowl of delicous soup!!

    • says

      Oh my gosh! I had forgotten about frills on my butt. I can still feel them! All things being equal I would rather wear tight shoes than frills on my butt.

      As for your question about warm fuzzy slippers, they do have a place on my list of accetable foot attire. However, only while I am sitting. Off they come if I need to walk around the house for more than a couple of minutes. Clearly I have issues. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Maegan says

    Made this soup over the weekend, it was absolutely delicious!!! The whole family enjoyed it. Will be making this often.

  3. says

    I am also a barefoot loving person. I am barefoot most of the time at home. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would happily eat this delicious and hearty soup, snuggled on the couch. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. says

    Regarding the crenoline slips–YES! Those pokey, hard, nylon threads were the worst. The ones I wore were made of toile and the bare edges used to poke my legs, too. Somewhere I have a picture of me from when I was 4 or 5 all decked out in my Easter finery and wearing a crenoline under my dress. I have got to dig out that picture and use it in a post around Easter. ~Terri

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