Make ham hocks with navy beans by soaking the beans in water overnight and boiling the ham hocks before combining the two main ingredients. Continue cooking until the beans are tender and ham hocks are falling apart.
Before soaking the pound of beans, pick through them to remove any sticks, rocks or bad beans. Add enough water to allow them to remain covered after they swell.
Score the outer skin of four ham hocks with a knife, and place them in a large stock pot with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a cup of minced onion, a tablespoon of minced garlic and 1/4 cup each of diced bell pepper and diced celery. Toss in two bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme. Add 8 cups of chicken stock, bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the ham hocks for 1 1/2 hours.
Drain the soaking water from the beans, and add them to the pot containing the ham hocks. Turn up the heat to resume boiling, and then lower it to simmer the beans for 45 minutes to an hour. Approximately 15 minutes before serving, salt the beans as desired.