Soak beans in a
big bowl of cold water overnight. Before you start cooking, pick out any
floaters and skins that rise to the top, rinse well. Bring ham stock to
a simmer, add beans, onions and celery, cook at a simmer over medium-low
heat for 1/2 hours. Donít boil the soup, as all the beans will jump their
skins and turn to mush. Dissolving some of the beans into the soup is
fine, and will give bean soup its distinctive pinkish color, but most
of the beans should stay whole. After 1/2 hours, add the diced ham, minced
carrots and diced potatoes. If using a ham shank, now is the time to take
it out, remove the meat and add that to the soup. Simmer the soup for
at least another 30 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
Serve with bread for dipping and a peppermill on the side, as bean soup
tastes best with freshly ground BLACK PEPPER on top.
Yield: 2-3 quarts
Prep. time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours