Bean Chowder

Recipe provided by: Itsy Bitsy Foodies Ingredients: 1 cup dry Great Northern white beans 1 cup dry red beans 2 quarts water 1 small smoked ham hock or 1/2 – 1 cup chopped ham, optional 1 cup chopped onion (roughly 1 small onion) 1 garlic clove, minced ¾ cup diced celery (roughly 3 ribs of celery) ¾ cup diced carrot (roughly 3 carrot sticks) 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1 1/2 cups milk Salt and pepper, to taste Directions 1)Soak the beans overnight in the water. (*For a quicker soak, bring the beans and water to boil, allowing the beans to boil for two minutes. Then cover the pot, removing it from the heat and letting the beans stand for one hour.) 2)The next day or after the quick soak, add the ham hock. Then cover the beans and the ham and let them simmer for 1 ½ hours. 3) Remove the ham hock and cut the meat. 4) Mash a portion of the beans and return them to the soup with the cut meat. 5) Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and cayenne pepper. 6) Cover the soup and let it simmer for one hour. 7) Then add the milk and heat the soup, being careful not to let it boil at this point. 8) Season the chowder with salt and pepper to taste.