For decades this soup has been served in the cafeteria of our nation's Capitol. If you prefer a smooth, creamy texture, purée all of the soup. It's even better when refrigerated several hours, and then reheated.
1 cup dried navy beans
2 tablespoons margarine
2 1/2 cups chopped leek
2 cups sliced carrot
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup diced cooked ham (such as Light & Lean)
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups water
2 teaspoons chicken-flavored bouillon granules
1 teaspoon beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
2 bay leaves
Celery leaves (optional)
How to Make It
Sort and wash beans, and place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans, and bring to a boil. Cook the beans 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let beans stand 1 hour. Drain beans.
Melt margarine in pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add leek and next 4 ingredients (leek through garlic); sauté 10 minutes. Add beans, 8 cups water, bouillon granules, sage, and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer mixture 1 1/2 hours or until beans are very tender. Discard bay leaves.
Place half of soup in a blender; process until smooth. Pour puréed mixture into remaining soup in pan, and cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes. Garnish with celery leaves, if desired.