French Market Soup
This soup takes all day, but very little attention, and makes the house smell wonderful! It makes a lot, so freeze leftovers for later enjoyment.
2 cups mixed beans, picked over, soaked in cold water overnight
1 ham hock (or 1/2 shank)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
6 ribs celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound Italian sausage
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
Rinse the beans and discard the water and any skins that have come off.
Put the beans in a large pot and add the ham, thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Add water to cover all the ingredients. Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the beans covered.
Add the full can of tomatoes plus juice, the garlic, onions, celery and red pepper flakes. Add more water if necessary, and simmer uncovered until beans are creamy, about 1 1/2 hours.
Add the sausage and chicken and cook for about 20 minutes until cooked. Remove from the soup; slice the sausage into coins and the chicken into bite sized pieces and add back to the soup.
Remove the ham hock; tear the meat into pieces and add back to the soup. Discard the bones. Remove the bay leaves.
Serve warm. This soup ages well; keep in the refrigerator and reheat, or freeze