Start by roasting a big ham with a lot of fat on it. Ideally roast it in a cast iron pan, so you don’t have to pour the melted fat into another pan when you take it out of the oven, but whatever works for you.
Make an egregious amount of ham gravy. Three cups or more.
(You’ve never made gravy? It’s easy. Take a half cup of flour or so and put your sautee pan of ham fat on a decently high heat. Sprinkle in some of the flour. Mix it with a fork until it’s blended. Keep doing this in small amounts–that’s how you avoid lumps–until you’ve got a big thick mass of floury fat in the pan. Your arm may be tired by that time, if it’s as much fat as we hope. Then pour in a splash of cold water and stir that in until it’s blended. Keep doing *that* a splash at a time until you have a giant pan of gravy at a consistency which pleases you. Add some garlic, maybe some pepper. Probably not salt, since this is a ham gravy, but taste to be sure. Et voila: you have gravy.
This process works for any gravy, BTW.)
Enjoy your ham dinner with gravy.
Next day, cut up a generous amount of the remaining ham–go ahead, do all of it, that’s okay–in big chunks. None of this sissy stuff here. We want *ham* in this soup.
Roughly chop two or three carrots, two or three celery sticks, three or four garlic cloves, and an onion. Pour a few tablespoons of oil into a sautee pan and throw the onions in first for three or four minutes, then add the other bits and cook them all until it smells so good you want to swoon.
If you’re doing this next part in a pot, you might as well go ahead and put the cold gravy and an equal amount of cold water into a pot and stir it down a bit so it’s not lumpy when you put the rest of the stuff in.
But if you’re me, you’re doing this next part in a crock pot because it’s so nice to get food going in the morning and not have to think about it until it’s time to eat, so you do this:
Throw the ham and the onion mix into your pot. Open your cupboard and find out how many kinds/cans of canned beans you have. Open, drain and rinse at least two of them, three if you’re feeling generous, four if you’re having company. Pour them on top of the ham and onion.
Scrape the gravy on top of that, add an equal amount of water, give it a few stirs to start breaking up the gravy, and turn it on high for about 3 hours. Stir occasionally to continue breaking up the gravy, but mostly leave it alone.
Spend the afternoon drooling over the wonderful scents emmenating from the kitchen. A while before dinner, make cornbread or cut up the bread you also made this morning (didn’t you do that?) and serve generous portions for a really gorgeous dinner.