My mom would always make this soup in October. There were five in our family; we would have this soup with hot cornbread for dinner the day she made it. The other half went into the freezer to have later on in the winter. She would sometime make October Soup in January...but in our house, it was always called October Soup.
1In a 6-quart Dutch oven, combine dried beans and 6 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
2Return beans to Dutch oven. Add 8 cups water, wine or broth, green bell pepper, onion, celery, tomatoes, garlic, chile pepper, 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper. Bring to boil; add beef brisket and ham hock.
3Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1½ hours or until beans and meat are tender.
4Remove ham hock; set aside to cool. Mash beans slightly. Add potatoes and carrots to bean mixture. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes more or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
5When ham hock is cool enough to handle, cut meat from bone; discard bone. Cut ham into bite-size pieces; stir into bean mixture. Taste for seasoning and add salt and black pepper, to taste.