White Bean and Ham Soup

Ingredients

1 lb of white beans—Cannellini or Great Northern—about 2 1/2 cups
12 cups chicken stock or 3 quarts of water
2-3 lbs of ham or smoked ham hocks
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup of diced onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 medium carrots chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Soak the dried beans in hot water; cover beans with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, and soak the beans for about 2 hours. Drain the water.

Add ham or smoked ham hocks, chopped celery, carrots, onion, dried thyme and garlic to beans and cover with chicken stock. Cook uncovered for an hour or until beans are tender, and the vegetables are soft and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone.
Remove the ham bones from the soup and pull off any meat and return it to the soup.

Salt and pepper to taste.