Cover beans with water and let them soak in a pot overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse the beans, return them to the pot and add enough vegetable broth and water to cover the beans. Add chopped onion, garlic, salt and pepper, bay leaf, ham flavoring packet, and ham hock. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and cook on low heat (barely bubbling) for 2-3 hours. Remove ham hock with tongs and throw away. Add ham, then cook on low heat, uncovered, for another hour or so. Add water periodically to keep the beans covered and to keep the soup from getting too thick.
Serve with crusty bread.
I had a small piece of salt pork in the freezer, so I used it along with the ham hock, removing and discarding both at the same time. I’ve prepared this recipe many times with just the ham hock, and frankly didn’t find that the salt pork added anything to the flavor.