Yield: 12 Servings
1 lb navy or great northern white dried beans
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
10 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons rosemary or thyme, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of ham, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 medium carrot, chopped into small pieces
1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
8 cups of water or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Place dried beans in a large pan and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 1 hour and then drain the water from beans and set beans aside.
In a large stockpot, combine the beans, herbs, ham, onion, carrot, garlic, tomato paste and chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for about 1½ hours or until beans and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and discard before serving. Serve soup piping hot with salad and crusty bread.
Note: For a vegetarian version, omit the ham and use vegetable stock or water.