When I was a kid, this was my favorite soup.
2 cups navy beans, soaked overnight
6 strips crispy fried bacon, minced
3 medium carrots, minced
3 medium celery stalks, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces tomato paste
1 dash red pepper flakes
6 cups water, more if needed
2 cups ham stock, if available, decrease water
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
3 drops liquid smoke, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
Soak beans overnight and discard water.
Place all ingredients except wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a large kettle. Simmer until beans are tender (about 3 hours).
Can remove and mash about 2 C of beans, and add back to soup to help thicken.