Ingredients:

•1 pound of white beans – either Great Northern or cannellini
•8 cups water
•3 or 4 ham hocks (I used a ham bone)
•1 cup carrots, chopped
•1 cup celery, chopped
•1 cup onion, chopped
•2 bay leaves
•3/4 teaspoon thyme
•Dash of hot sauce
•1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
•1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
•Salt and pepper
-crushed garlic
-1/2 tsp each of rosemary, marjoram and basil
1 bay leaf
2 C diced ham

Directions:

Soak the white beans in cold water for several hours or overnight. Drain.

Put the ham hocks in a large pot and cover with 8 to 10 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until hocks are starting to fall apart. This usually takes several hours. I added a handful of celery tops and the bay leaves to the stock as it simmered. Remove the hocks from the stock when they are done and let them cool. Remove meat from the bones and set aside. Strain the stock to remove celery and any meat bits left in the pot. I chill the stock at this point so I can skim off the fat from the ham hocks.

Saute the carrots, celery and onions in 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot until they are soft. Add stock, beans and thyme and simmer until beans are soft, usually about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper and add vinegar and fresh parsley. I like to mash some of the cooked beans to thicken the soup a bit.