Great Northern Bean Soup a La Nita
1 lb.  prepared white "great northern" beans*
  water to cover bean about 1 inch above top
1   ham hock or about 1/3 lb smoked ham
2   carrots, scraped, finely chopped
2 Tbsp  oil, butter or bacon drippings
1 large  vidalia or sweet type onion, peeled, chopped
2   ribs (pieces) fresh celery, scraped, strings removed, chopped
2 or 3 clove  fresh garlic, crushed, peeled, finely chopped (optional)
add only after beans are done and very soft: 
1   knorr ham* or knorr chicken** bouillon cube, dissolved in 1/2 cup hot
1/4 tsp  celery salt
1/4 tsp  onion powder or onion magic
1 tsp  table salt
  freshly ground black pepper, to taste
about 6 sprigs fresh parsley, stems removed, minced, or 2 tablespoons 
paprika for sprinkling 
1 or 2 tablespoons chopped pimento (optional) 
fresh chives, for garnish (optional) 
fresh parsley, for garnish (optional) 
rinse beans with cold water and place them in a 3 quart boiler and fill 
boiler half full or more with cold water. do not try to cook beans even 
partially, at this stage. soak beans in plenty of cold water overnight or 
for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours. before cooking beans, put ham hock or 
smoked ham in a large boiler, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil 
and cook over medium/low heat for about 30 minutes. add more water if 
needed. when ready to cook beans, drain off the water they soaked in and 
discard it. place beans in the pot with the meat. add additional water to 
cover meat and beans with about 2 or 3 inches of water. do not add salt 
or seasonings at this point. 
bring beans to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low or 
low. cover and cook until beans are very tender, about two hours. add 
water as needed. stir occasionally. while beans are cooking, scrape 
carrots with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. cut off the top end and 
tips and discard. cut carrots lengthwise into slices, or strips. cut 
across the strips into small dice. add to beans. peel onion, cut it in 
quarters. cut out any hard root core and discard. slice and finely chop 
onion. reserve. cut off tips and root end from 2 ribs (pieces) of fresh 
celery. break celery ribs in about 4 pieces each. remove any strings. 
scrape if needed. rinse with cold water, cut into strips lengthwise and 
then finely chop it crosswise. reserve. tip: be careful when adding 
celery to a dish. too much will make it taste bland. 
separate 2 or 3 cloves garlic from the bulb of fresh garlic. crush cloves 
with the side of a wide chef's knife. remove peelings and discard them 
(they will pop off). finely mince garlic cloves. reserve. when beans are 
cooked and very tender, with a large cooking spoon, crush them against the 
sides of the boiler and continue cooking over low heat. now dissolve the 
ham or chicken bouillon cube in water and add to the beans. tip: it is 
important not to add salt to beans before they are cooked tender. if you 
do, they will be hard. 
heat a medium frying pan and add oil, butter or bacon drippings. add 
chopped onion, and celery (optional). cook (sweat) over medium-low heat 
until onion is somewhat translucent. do not brown. add and stir in garlic 
during the last minute of cooking. tip: browning garlic will make it taste 
add vegetables (onion, celery, optional garlic), to the beans. stir in 
well. add remaining seasonings (celery salt, onion powder, salt, black 
pepper). cook beans for about 15 minutes longer. add minced parsley 
during last 5 minutes of cooking. taste and adjust seasonings. place soup 
in serving bowls. sprinkle lightly with paprika (optional). garnish with 
choice of chopped pimento (optional), chives (optional) or sprigs of 
* i don't know of any other ham bouillon cubes 
** if using another brand, use 2 bouillon cubes 
knorr bouillon cubes make 2 cups bouillon, whereas other brand bouillon 
usually make 1 cup bouillon. 1 can chicken broth or bouillon may be 
serves 6 
nita holleman 
(ID: 9681) Mirror: Fri, Dec 12, 2003

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