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(German Bean Soup)

Hugely chunky, thick, colorful, and peppery, this great peasant soup is filled with chewy ham, tender beans and potatoes, with carrots and green beans along for the ride for texture, color, and taste. Its an excellent hearty meal, most especially with a frosted stein of good beer and chewy bread. Serve hot to 4-6 people.

Drain the soaked beans, then put in a kettle with 8 cups of water and the bacon. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour.

Add the green beans, celery root cubes, carrots, leeks, onion, parsley root (or parsley), potatoes, marjoram, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for another hour.

After you've got the veggies starting to cook, get out another saucepan and melt the butter in it over low heat. Stir in the flour and let it brown very very slowly, stirring occasionally--this could take the whole hour, if you keep the heat low enough. When ready, stir in a little of the soup stock, whisk for a minute, then stir into the soup kettle. Season with salt and pepper (as much as a Tablespoon of salt), and cook uncovered, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, stir in the parsley, remove the bay leaves, adjust the seasoning, then ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately.