An Old World bean soup recipe given to me by my husband's cousin's grandparents who are from the Portuguese Azore Islands. You can follow the spice trade route with this recipe. Pity that pink beans are not used much in cooking- they are so delicious! This makes the house smell deliriously good! Can easily be prepared vegetarian.
1*NOTE: Can also substitute sausage for the bacon or ham hock. Portuguese linguica, Spanish chorizo or Louisiana andouille, vegetarian "soyrizo" (for a vegetarian version), etc. are suggestions. My preference being bacon as I don't care for sausage or ham hock.
For additional flavor, I usually dry roast the spices in a cast iron skillet first.
2Soak the beans overnight. Cook the bacon and drain on paper towel. Next saute the onion and garlic. Once cooled, break up the bacon into little pieces.
3In large Dutch oven or in crock pot, combine all the ingredients, including the water, excluding the salt. If using a Dutch oven, simmer the beans on medium-low for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are soft.
4If using a crock pot simmer on low 8 hours or until beans are soft. Salt the beans once cooked.
5Adjust seasoning before serving. Now season with salt.
Remove whole cloves, cinnamon stick and whole allspice.
Great with freshly baked, crusty bread. Tastes even better if prepared one day ahead then warmed.