We made a ham for Easter dinner. I hated to throw out the ham bone, so I decided to make my father some soup. I searched the internet for "just the right recipe", but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. I combined 2 recipes and added my own "twist". This is what I came up with. My family loved it!
In a large pot, saute bacon until crisp. Remove bacon. (Break into small pieces when cool). Pour out fat leaving approximately 2 Tbsp. in bottom of pot. Add olive oil.
Saute onions, celery, and carrots for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add garlic and heat 2 more minutes. Add water, beans, cayenne pepper, black pepper, tomato paste, and thyme. Stir well. Put ham bone in pot. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low. Cover. Simmer 1 1/2 hours. More water can be added if necessary, but I didn't need to.
Discard ham bone. Remove 2 cups of soup and place in blender. Puree. Return to pot. This will thicken the soup. Stir in diced ham and bacon.