Bean Chowder

2 c. dried navy beans
2 onions, diced
1 large smoked ham hock
2 Tbsp. oil
4 c. canned tomatoes
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. molasses or brown sugar
1 tsp. salt

Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. Drain beans, place in large soup kettle and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer gently. In oil brown together onions and ham hock until onions are soft. Add onions and ham hock to beans. Continue to simmer until beans are tender, approximately 1 – 1 1/4 hours, adding more water as necessary. To give a smooth base to the chowder, remove a part of the beans, puree and return to pot. Add tomatoes, molasses, pepper and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes longer. Remove ham hock and serve. (Note: Dried split peas and beans can be substituted for each other in most soups.) Serves four – six.

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