3 bay leaves
1 pound bacon, chopped
1 pound ham, diced
Salt and pepper
PLACE the beans in a nonreactive pot with enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Soak the beans overnight.
ADD, the next day, the onion, celery, tomatoes, garlic, herbes de Provence and bay leaves to the pot with the beans and soaking liquid (add additional water as needed to keep the beans submerged).
SIMMER the soup until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding additional water, if needed, to keep the beans submerged.
RENDER the bacon in a separate pot, while the soup is cooking, until crisp. Stir in the diced ham and remove from heat.
STIR in the bacon and ham, along with the rendered bacon fat, when the beans are tender. Add additional water if desired to thin, and season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.
Nutrition information: Per each of 16 servings: 281 calories, 15 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 15 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 34 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram sugar, 907 milligrams sodium.