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White Bean Soup
Recipe by: Chef John V., A Good Cooking Recipe!
Serving size: 4
Preparation time: about 2 hours 30 minutes
1 lb. small white beans, picked over for stones and rinsed
12 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup onions, minced
2 tsp. garlic minced
1cup celery, peeled and diced
1 cup carrot, peeled and diced
1 piece bay leaf
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste, (about 1 tbsp. salt and 1 tsp. white pepper to start)
1 piece, smoked ham hock, pre-boiled in water for 15 minutes
Pick over the bean, rinse and soak over night in cold water to cover by 2 inches.
Drain the beans then saute the remaining ingredients in the olive oil, (except the liquid) for 10 minutes over medium heat in a large pot. Add the beans and liquid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 2-3 hours or until the beans are tender. Discard the bay leaf, remove the ham hock and finely dice the meat from the bones. Add the meat to the soup, discard the bones and skin. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if you like.
Optional: You may puree the soup in a blender or food processor for a smoother consistency before you add the diced ham. More stock may also be added it the soup is too thick.
Serve with chopped chives or parsley and warm crusty French bread.