- 1 pound dry Navy beans
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 ham bone, with some meat on it
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 3 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chopped ham (less if your ham bone has lots of meat left on it)
- ground pepper
Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt (optional) and the beans and remove from heat. Let beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes.
After soaking, return the pot to high heat and place the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, and seasonings in the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.
Remove ham bone, take off any usable meat, and discard the bone. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with ground pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.