1Pick over the dried beans and discard any debris.
2Wash and drain and put beans in a large pot and cover with water.
3Let stand 8 hours or overnight.
4The next day, chop celery, carrots and onions into 1/4-inch pieces. (This is easier with a food
5Drain beans and add vegetables, 5 cups water, ham hocks or ham bone, and pepper to taste and add salt if you wish.
6Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 3 hours or until beans are tender.
7Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool.
8Remove meat from bones and cut meat into half-inch pieces.
9Put 2 cups of the soup into a blender along with the butter and flour; puree.
10Pour this puree back in pan.
11Puree more of the soup if you prefer a smoother texture and add the chopped ham pieces back into the soup.
12Simmer for 15-20 minutes until soup is slightly thickened.
13Good when sprinkled with a few drops of hot pepper sauce just before serving.