This really is the best Nave Bean Soup. It's so very rich and full of flavor. Your entire family will ask for more!
1poundNavy beans or Great Northern beans
1ham bone or ham hock
Rinse and sort the beans, carefully looking for dirt or small rocks. Put rinsed beans in a large pan and cover with two inches of water. Let soak for at least 8 hours, or use the "quick soak" method.
To "quick soak" the beans, put the pot of beans and water on the stove over hight heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for two minutes, then cover with a lid and remove from heat. Let soak for one hour. A spoon of baking soda can be added to the water before soaking (after removing from heat) to aid in breaking down the beans for easier digestion.
After the soaking is complete, drain the beans and rinse with fresh water.
For making the soup, dice the carrot and celery stalk. Heat the oil in the soup pot over low or medium-low heat. Add the carrot and celery and cook until tender, stirring often. Do not allow the vegetables to brown.
Add the drained beans to the softened vegetables in the pot and cover with the chicken stock. Place the ham bone or hock into the pot, being careful to arrange it as deep into the pot as possible. Turn up the heat to medium-hight and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.
After 1 1/2 hours check the beans for doneness. The finished beans should be tender and creamy. They should not be too firm or mushy and falling apart. Keep checking the beans every half hour until they are cooked. This could take about three hours.
Once the beans are cooked, remove the ham bone or hock onto a plate to cool slightly until it can be handled. Remove any meat from the bone and stir it into the soup.