Onions and celery are sauteed with bacon and added to this navy bean soup in a chicken bouillon base spiced with cloves and bay leaf. This version uses less bacon, less bacon grease, omits added salt, and uses lower sodium ingredients. I have also changed how the beans are prepared so they are less "gassy" and they don't have to soak for an hour. While it's still bean with bacon, at least it's a little better for you!
Place the beans in a stock pot with 6 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 10 minutes. Remove pot to sink; do NOT drain. Add 1/4 cup baking soda and stir like crazy until all foaming has stopped. Drain, rinse well, and set aside.
Cook the bacon to your desired texture (it can be soft or crisp, whatever you prefer) and drain except for 3 tablespoons grease. Coarsly chop the bacon.
Add the onions and celery to the reserved grease and saute until soft, do not drain. Add the chicken bullion cubes, 5 cups water, bacon, beans, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and cloves, and simmer for until bean are soft, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and simmer 5 minutes. Serve.