It is going to be colder than a witches' behind here for the next few days. Perfect hearty soup weather.
There's a reason this soup has been on the menu of the U.S. Senate restaurant every day since 1901. I double this because the longer it sets the better it gets.
U.S. Senate Bean Soup
about 6 cups
1 1/4 cups small dried white beans, such as navy or Great Northern, rinsed and picked over. Soak overnight in water to cover by at least an inch
Drain and place in a soup pot, along with:
1 small ham hock
7 cups cold water
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the ham hock (leave the soup at a gently simmer). Discard the bone, skin, and fat; dice the meat. Return it to the pot and add:
1 large onion, diced
3 medium celery ribs with leaves, chopped
1 large potato,peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Simmer until the potato pieces are quite soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until the soup is a bit creamy.
2 tablespoons chopped parsley