1. Bring the water and beans to a boil in a
large saucepan or Dutch oven; boil for 2
minutes. Remove the beans from heat, cover, and
let stand for 1 hour.
2. Add the ham, ham bone, or hock to the beans,
along with onion, pepper, bay leaf, carrot and
celery to the beans. Bring to a boil; reduce
heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender
(skim foam from top), about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If
soup is too thick, add a little more water.
3. If you used a ham bone or ham hocks, take
them out of the soup and remove the meat. Dice
or shred the meat and return it to the soup.
4. Add the tomato sauce and salt, to taste;
simmer for about 15 minutes longer. Remove the
Tips and Variations
If you soak the beans overnight, use 8 cups of
water and skip the first step of boiling the
beans and letting them stand for an hour.
For some extra texture and flavor, add 1 can of
diced tomatoes to the soup along with the tomato
This soup is good for tailgating. Transfer the
finished soup to a slow cooker and take it along
to a party or event. Keep it on low or on the
warm setting for serving.