1 pound dried Great Northern beans
1 meaty ham bone or 2 meaty smoked ham hocks
3 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
3 minced garlic cloves
1 cup mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper
Either soak the beans overnight in 12 cups of water or put the beans in water and bring to a boil, shut them off and let them sit 2 hours.
Bring beans to a simmer and cook until the beans are just barely tender, about an hour. Put the ham in the pot and cook for 45 min on low. Remove hambone / hocks to cool. Add onion, celery, and garlic and cook until everything is tender. Cut meat from the bones, chop, and return to the soup. Salt and pepper to taste and add potatoes to thicken.
Serve with hot crusty bread.
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Thought for the day
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who as the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. [Theodore Roosevelt]