1 pound dried great northern beans rinsed and picked through
1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
3 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and small dice or other shape to suit you
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup mashed potatoes or 1/3 cup instant potato flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced parsley or chives
Place beans in a Dutch oven or large soup kettle; add water to cover by about 2 inches.
Bring beans and water to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened.
Drain and rinse the beans. In a large Dutch oven or soup kettle, place the beans, ham bone or hocks and 3 quarts water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours. Skimming fat off as needed.
Add the onions, garlic, celery, parsley,carrots and potatoes, salt and pepper to the pot or the Dutch oven and simmer for about another hour.
Set aside ham bones or hocks until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into bite-size pieces and return to Dutch oven. Heat through. Sprinkle with parsley or chives. Served with cornbread.