Ham and Bean Soup

3 cups great northern beans
3 quarts water
1 - 3 to 4 lb. meaty ham end or several ham hocks , leftover ham from dinner!
1 large onion - chopped
1c. carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 to 3 medium potatoes - peeled & diced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Rinse the beans. Combine beans and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand 2 hours. Drain, then rinse beans. Add 3 quarts fresh water, ham & remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours or until beans are tender. Remove ham from bone; discard all boneand excess fat Chop ham and return to pot. Cook an additional 1/2 hour before serving.

Using canned or jarred great white beans or navy or small white beans:

Bring enough water to cover ham bone to a boil,
Add bay leaf
Turn down after starts to boil and simmer for about 4 hours
Cut up onions and celery, fry till a bit soft
Add to the pot after its been cooked for the 4 hours
Also add potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper
Bring to a boil again, and boil for about 7-10 min. till carrots are soft
When almost time to eat, about an hour before or so, add the beans, from jar or can. Bring to a boil again, turn down and simmer for about 30 min.
Take out bay leaf and eat!

Great served with nice fresh rolls or Italian bread!

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