First. I grew up in a Navy town and I always wondered if they were so named because they were served in the Navy. Does anyone know the answer to that?
Second. I haven't spoken at all about the cooks on my fathers' side of the family because quite frankly, I don't think there were any. I can't remember a single meal ever prepared by my paternal grandmother other than perhaps a sandwich. Not the domestic type. Her sister, my great Auntie GiGi on the other hand, use to make wonderful navy beans and it's the only thing I remember her cooking. They were flavorful and hearty and she would make a huge potful which would handily serve our large family.
Third. They were one of my fathers' favorite dishes. He loved the navy beans and would sometimes make sandwiches using them on our very, very white sandwich bread which was the usual fare in our home. A navy bean sandwich. Can you imagine? He also liked a fried bologna and peanut butter sandwich. You see, good taste did not necessarily course though his genes!
Having made a wonderfully tasty ham for Christmas dinner and freezing the ham bone and tidbits, I pondered what to do with the leftovers. A pot of navy beans came to mind and as I had my first taste I thought fondly of my hometown, my great auntie and especially my beloved dad!Navy Beans
1 ham bone or ham hock
2 stocks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 bay leaf
32 ounces of liquid (I used half chicken stock and half water)
1 package of navy beans
salt and pepper to taste
Soak beans overnight. Saute vegetables for 5 minutes until translucent. Add ham bone, liquid and drained beans to pot. Bring to boil then turn down to a simmer and cook until beans are very tender. Cut any meat off the bone and return to pot. Serve with crusty bread or crackers. P.S. This is a very economical meal.