1pounddried Navy beans or great Northern beansrinsed well
2stalks of celerychopped
3large carrotspeeled and chopped
1 1/2cupsdiced hambacon or smoked sausage
1teaspoondried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt to taste
The night before: Pick through the beans and discard any broken pieces. Place beans in a large pot and cover with 3 inches of water. Cover and let sit overnight.
Strain the beans through a large colander. Rinse and dry the soup pot and place on the stove over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add diced onion, carrots and celery, and cook until softened; about 4-5 minutes. Add minced garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for another minute.
Add beans, water and ham and bring to a boil. Stir in a ½ teaspoon of salt, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until beans are very soft, stirring every 15 minutes or so to ensure that the soup doesn’t scorch on the bottom.
Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh cracked black pepper and fresh minced parsley.
Slow Cooker method - combine all ingredients in a large slow cooker and cook overnight on low for about 12 hours or until beans are very soft.
No soaking method - cook as directed but simmer for at least 3 hours. Use ham for the soup. Like a ham steak (not lunch meat lol)