I like to shop Costco, they offer a spiral sliced ham for about $20 which kept in the fridge has a very long storage period, however I have found that cooking the ham, and then dividing up serving portions in zip locks works great, the big treat for myself is to leave a portion of meat on the bone and freezing until ready to cook.
My recipe, requires a large crock pot, I unfreeze the ham bone with the residual meat, overnight I soak a large bag of navy beans per directions, I like to prepare the soup early a.m. by starting out putting the ham bone with meat first into the crock-pot(again the biggest one made) next I add the following in this order navy beans(white beans), a quart of chicken broth, 1/8 cup of salt (don't worry its not going to be too salty) 2 tablespoons pepper, 1 onion(diced small as you can get it,) 1/4 cup hot sauce, 1/4 stick of butter. At this point you should room for additional liquids, I suggest either water or more chicken broth, fill the crock pot up to within 1/8 inch from the top. Set the crock pot on high, make sure the crock pot has a location or a large pan sitting underneath in case you get a little run over( but if you maintain the 1/8 inch level you should be ok) and let it cook for at least 12 hours. Also it will thicken up on its own.
Chef's Notes: This is a great meal to leave perking while you are away from the house, because when you return home, the smell of that meal cooking makes even the pickiest eaters hungry. You will see the meat has separated from the bone, and if you have a dog(s) in the house, they will be very happy to get a tasty bone. I serve with cornbread, or fresh bread and nothing else, this is a complete meal, sticks to your ribs and the smiles around the table are evidence enough you have a hit. Very few meals give off the aroma that puts a smile on your face like Navy bean and ham soup, I have tried different things for value, for around 25 bucks complete cost of all the ingredients you get several meals from the sliced ham, another round of meals or more from the soup, and even the dog has a treat. You can stretch this by adding more bean, and as most people know, it gets better each time the left-overs are reheated. That's a winner for everybody on a budget.
Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:
Taste of Dutch oven cooking offered at Chuck Wagon Gathering and Children's Cowboy Festival. A tip of the Stetson to Jeremiah R. for the link.)
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