|Inspired by Willow Manor|
ham & bean soup (inspired by life at willow manor)
1 bag dried navy beans (i think any of the white beans will do)
3 carrots diced (i wished i had used more, but they were smallish carrots)
3 ribs celery diced
1 onion diced (i'm not an onion fan so i used 1/2)
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp thyme (had to use dried - couldn't find fresh)
1/4 tsp white pepper (i used black)
1 tsp salt (i tasted first before adding a smidge - the ham was pretty salty)
1 1/2 to 2 cups diced ham (depends on your desire for lots of ham versus not so much)
prepare dried beans for cooking by following directions on the bag (i soaked mine overnight). rinse beans and put in a large stock pot. i used a combo of chicken stock and water to simmer beans but any stock you prefer would work (i think). add remaining ingredients. if you are using a ham bone, then place ham bone into the pot, (about a 7 quart size) cover with water (about 2 inches from the top), cover and simmer on stove top (the recipe instructs that you bake all combined ingredients in a 300 to 325 degree oven for about 4 hours.) check periodically and replace any water that may have cooked off. broth should be dense and beans soft.
remove ham bone and cut up any large chunks of meat, and return meat to pot. check for flavor and adjust seasonings.
totally yummy!!! i served it with fresh from the oven cheddar rolls that i picked up from fresh market but i think it would be great with either biscuits or cornbread too.