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Bean Soup

1 lb Black or red beans
1 1/2 lb Smoked ham hocks
2 qt Chicken broth or bouillon
3 tb Butter
2 c Minced onions
1/2 c Minced celery
1/2 c Minced carrots
2 Cloves garlic; minced
1 tb Vinegar
1 ts Salt
1 Bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight. Drain and set aside. In a soup kettle, saute vegetables in butter until onions are golden. Add broth and beans, stir well and add ham hocks and seasonings. Simmer 2-3 hours or until beans are soft and mash easily against side of kettle. Remove bay leaf and ham hocks, discarding the bone, skin and fat. Return meat to kettle. Puree the soup through a sieve, food processor or blender and return to kettle; bring back to a simmer for a few minutes.

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