1pounddried Great Northern OR navy beanspicked over
1large smoked ham bone, ham hock, OR ham shank
2cups(approximately 6 ounces) shredded, julienned, or diced carrots
1medium stalk celerysliced
7cupslow-sodium chicken broth OR stock
1/2teaspoondry mustard powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Several dashes of hot pepper saucesuch as Tabasco
1 to 2cupsadditional diced hamoptional
Rinse and drain the beans and place them in the bottom of a large (7- to 8-quart) slow cooker. Nestle the ham bone/hock/shank in the center, and add the carrots, celery, and garlic on top. Carefully pour the chicken broth over the ingredients in the slow cooker, and then sprinkle with the bay leaves, parsley, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, and hot pepper sauce. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or until the beans are tender.
Remove the ham bone/hock/shank. Pull any ham meat from the bone, shred, and set aside; discard the bone and any fat or cartilage. Use an immersion blender to puree just enough of the soup to give it a creamy consistency, leaving most of the beans whole. Stir the shredded ham (from the bone) into the soup, along with any additional diced ham you'd like to add. Allow to cook for a few more minutes until just heated through.