1 pound dried navy beans, picked over and soaked in water overnight 1 ham bone, trimmed of surface fat 12 cups water 2 bay leaves 2 medium celery stalks 3 medium carrots 1 medium onion 1 1/2 teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine soaked and drained beans, ham bone, water and bay leaves in a large pot or Dutch oven. Heat to boil, skimming foam from surface several times. Reduce heat and simmer very gently until beans are mushy, about 1 1/2 hours.
Cut celery, carrots, and onions into small dice. Remove ham bone from soup and cut off any meat. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash some of the beans to thicken the broth, leaving some of them whole. The broth can also be pureed if you prefer.
Add any meat from the bone to the soup along with the vegetables and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes longer.
If the soup is too thick, thin it with additional water, or milk if you prefer. Serve hot, with crackers, etc.
242 calories, 3 grams fat, 39 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams proteinper serving. This recipe is low in fat.