Bean and Olive Soup
1 cup dried white beans
5 whole cloves
5 allspice berries
1 ham hock
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ripe black olives (not canned), seeded and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Cover the beans with water and soak overnight.
Drain the beans and place them in a kettle. Add 1 1/2 quarts water. Tie the cloves, peppercorns, and allspice berries in a muslin bag and add to the kettle. Add the ham hock, onion, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the beans are tender.
Discard the muslin bag of spices. Remove the ham and cut the meat from the bone. Dice the meat and return it to the kettle with the olives. Reheat. Mash a few of the beans to give body to the soup. Adjust the consistency by adding more water. Sprinkle with parsley.
Makes 5 servings.
From “The New York Times Cookbook” by Craig Claiborne