Mom's Senate Bean Soup
1 lb dried small white navy beans
2 smoked ham hocks
7-8 C chicken broth
3 medium onions, chopped fine
1 lg carrot, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves
3 celery ribs, chopped fine
2 T parsley
2 T rosemary
Parmesan cheese, grated
Place beans in large saucepan, cover with water by 2-3 inches, and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
In large soup pot, place beans, ham hocks, and broth (or water). Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat, simmer 2 hours.
Saute onions, celery, carrots, garlic and herbs in olive oil. Add to beans, simmer 1 hour longer. Remove ham hocks, and chop up remaining meat; add to soup.
Process 2 cups of soup in blender, return to pot and stir. Serve with parmesean and chopped parlsey. YIELDS 2 1/2 qts.
Note: Substitute ham hocks for leftover ham bone and scraps (from holiday meal or other family feast), and set aside a few slices of ham to add later. Sweet, glazed ham adds a tastey flavor to the soup. Remove the bone and cut up remaining meat--then add to soup. All the above ingredients are approximate, and can be guesstimated. I also prefer to add more carrots and celery (with leaves). A hand processor / blender is a convenient way to purree a portion of the soup without removing it from the pot.