- 1 pound dried baby lima beans or other dried white beans, picked over
- 2 ham hocks or ½ pound sliced bacon
- 2/3 cup wheat berries*
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
- 1 head escarole (about 1 pound), chopped coarse
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- In a bowl soak beans in water to cover by 2 inches overnight or quick-soak (procedure follows) and drain.
- In a heavy kettle (at least 5 quarts) simmer ham hocks and wheat berries in water and broth, covered, 1 hour. Add drained beans and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and skim froth. Add onions, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and rosemary and simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 1 hour.
- Transfer ham hocks with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Discard fat and bones and chop meat.
- In a blender or food processor purée 3 cups soup. Stir purée into soup with chopped meat and escarole and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Soup may be made 4 days ahead (cool uncovered before chilling covered.)
- To quick-soak dried beans: In a large saucepan combine dried beans, picked over and rinsed, with triple, their volume of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook beans, uncovered, over moderate heat 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let beans soak 1 hour.
- I use whatever beans I have, pinto or cannelli. If I do not have a ham hock, I have also just started the soup with sliced bacon. Also…..feel free to omit the escarole.