White Bean and Ham Soup

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This soup is the perfect hardy accompaniment to a cold winter day. Note, this soup is the kind that is much better the next day, as the flavors from the beans, ham, and vegetables have had time to blend.

1 lb of white beans - Canellini or Great Northern
2 quarts of water
2-3 lbs of ham shanks (preferred to ham hocks because the shanks have more meat),
each shank cut into 2 or 3 sections
1 cup of diced onions
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, diced
Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
Herbes de Provence
Fresh parsley

Soak the beans in at least 2 quarts of cold water for about 2 hrs. Drain the water.  Put the ham shank pieces in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about an hour. Add the chopped vegetables and beans. Cook for another hour, until the vegetables are soft and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone.

Add several drops of Tabasco to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of herbes de Provence. Serve with a pinch of chopped fresh parsley.  Serves 8.

Source:  www.elise.com

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