During the fall I love to make soups. There is nothing on a chilly day than a bowl of homemade ham and bean soup. The secret to making it outstanding is what you use for the ham and broth. You can use just ham cubes but I use ham hocks along with some country ham chunks. The salt from the country ham and the bones from the ham hocks is what gives the broth the flavor. You can use fresh beans that you need to soak but it is just as good if you use canned beans.
Ingredients2 large ham hocks 1 pack of country ham chunks 1 medium onion 2 carrots 2 stalks of celery 2 bay leaves 4 cloves of garlic minced 1/2 tablespoon thyme 1/2 tablespoon black pepper 4 12 oz cans of great northern beans In large soup pot put the ham hocks and cover with water. Bring to boil then simmer for approximately 1 hour until the meat is tender. Remove hocks and let cool. When cool enough to handle pull all the meat off of the bones and chop into bite size pieces. Add country ham chunks, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic, thyme and pepper to the broth. Then put the meat from the ham hocks back in the broth and simmer for approximately 1/2 hour. Add the beans to the soup and simmer for another 1/2 hour. This is a great soup and there are many different versions of it. I don’t like putting potatoes or dough balls in it but I have seen it done. Enjoy !!!