Navy Beans and Ham, Wood Stove Cookery

Navy Beans and Ham ~ Wood Stove Cookery

Navy Beans and Ham ~ Wood Stove Cookery

A snow day calls for a pot of beans on the wood stove. The wood stove you use to heat your home, with an insulated top, can be used for cooking.

Gentle heat emitted by your wood stove mimics a slow cooker, cooking beans to tender perfection and allowing time for the herbs and ham pieces to fully flavor the dish – with a small caveat: you will need to bring the pot to a boil on the kitchen stove first.

You may have heard it is not possible to cook on a modern wood stove. The top, which serves as the cooking surface, does not get nearly as hot as the older style wood stoves did, it’s true.

Soak the beans

Start the night before by soaking the beans in plenty of water with salt.

Plump and ready to cook the next day. They can double in size overnight!

Alternatively, you can use the quick soak method given in the printable recipe below or visit Hip Pressure Cooking for directions on using your multicooker (also known as Instant Pot).

Choose a cooking vessel

Generally, a pot that is safe to cook with on your kitchen stove is safe to cook on a modern wood stove with an insulated top. Choose from stainless steel, cast iron, or enamel coated cast iron with a heavy bottom. Or use clay cooking pots such as Italian-made D’Silva brand often found in kitchenware stores.

Build a fire

wood stove

Your dinner depends on a nice, hot fire. On a cold winter day, this is no problem! Make sure the fire has a good layer of coals on bottom topped with wood to keep burning for a good, long while.

Find more helpful info on wood stove cookery here: 10 Tips for Cooking on a Modern Wood Stove.

For those who are curious, our stove is a Blaze King Ashford 30.2 in chestnut enamel. (It came with our house!) We found the wonderful copper Turkish teapot at a secondhand sale.

Cook low and slow

Once your pot has come to a boil on the kitchen stove, cover it with the lid and transfer it to the wood stove to cook slowly.

It is okay to open the pot and stir. Most beans will be fully cooked in about an hour to 90 minutes; 30 minutes if using lentils or split peas. Be sure to test several beans for doneness.

Serve it up!

Ladle your delicious meal into bowls or mugs and enjoy with a forkful of Golden Sauerkraut for improved digestion. Add shredded greens and serve with Fluffy Buttermilk Rye Drop Biscuits, Cream Biscuits / Cream Scones, or Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers for a complete meal!


Navy Beans and Ham ~ Wood Stove Cookery

Yes you can cook on your modern or contemporary wood stove with the insulated top! This pot of navy beans and ham hits the spot on a cold winter day. You’ll enjoy the smell of it cooking! See 10 Tips for Cooking on a Modern Wood Stove for a helpful chart and more ideas.

  • Author: Michele Pryse, FNTP
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 45 min to 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 52 minute
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: wood stove
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds dry navy beans (or your favorite bean)
  • 1 tablespoon good quality salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups diced ham, optional
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 quart broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Water


1. Pour beans out on a plate and visually inspect them, discarding any little stones or debris you find. Place beans in a bowl with salt and 8 cups (about 2 liters) water, let soak overnight at room temperature.

2. The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Add beans to a wood stove-safe cooking pot. Dice onion and add to pot with ham, broth, herbs, and black pepper. Add water to cover beans by 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm). Place pot on your kitchen stove (not your wood stove), cover, and bring to a low boil.

3. Meanwhile, maintain a good fire in your wood stove. You should have a bed of hot coals topped with pieces of wood for a steady burn.

4. Once the pot reaches a boil, stir the beans and transfer the pot to the wood stove. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cooking time will depend on the age of the beans and how hot the fire is, but generally takes an hour to 90 minutes; 30 minutes if using lentils or split peas.

5. Ladle beans and ham into bowls or soup mugs. Add chopped greens and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Fluffy Buttermilk Rye Drop Biscuits, Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers, or Cream Biscuits / Cream Scones.


Quick soak method for dry beans ~

  1. Sort and rinse.  Pour beans out on a plate and visually inspect them, discarding any little stones or debris you find.
  2. Add water and boil. Place beans in a large pot, add water to cover the beans by 2 inches (5 cm) and bring to a boil over high heat without a lid. Boil 5  min.
  3. Soak. Turn the heat off and let the beans soak in the pot for 1 hour.
  4. Drain and use. Drain beans through a colander and proceed with Step 2 in the recipe instructions.

To use your multicooker (Instant Pot) to quick soak beans, visit Hip Pressure Cooking.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag me — I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!


One Comment

  • I bought navy beans just yesterday for this. I too cook on my soapstone woodstove.
    Surprised at your seasonings and no molasses. Not sure I’ll be as brave. Was looking forward to the molasses.
    And when you were serving it up, sounded quite thin rather than thick like store bought canned beans.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

Recent Posts

Subscribe to the Chocolate Box Cottage Tidings

Receive special recipes and cottage wisdom directly to your inbox!