If you have a ham bone in your freezer, here is a beautiful and inexpensive soup that is warming and filling during our cold winter days and nights.

Add a slaw and a pone of cornbread and you have a delicious meal that will stretch in to several  lunches as well.

1 pound dried navy beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 tablespoon crumbled fresh sage
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 small can petite diced tomatoes
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (start slowly) the ham will add salt)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large, meaty ham bone or 4 oz. lean ham steak, cubed
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Pick over the beans and discard any discolored ones or small stones.  Soak the beans in cold water for at least 8 hours or over night. Drain and rinse well.
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add the carrots, celery and sage and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans,  stock, water, tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the beans have begun to soften, about 1 hour. Add the ham bone and cook uncovered for about a half hour more, until the beans are soft and the soup has thickened. Remove the ham bone from the soup and let cool. Strip and chop the meat and add to soup. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve hot and sit back and wait for compliments!

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