Place beans in a bowl or pot, cover with water 2 inches above the beans, and allow to soak overnight. This is a must. You cannot skip this step.
Fry your bacon until crispy and deep brown. Remove from pan and chop into very fine pieces, set aside.
With a really sharp knife, score your smoked hocks all over, about 1/4 - 1/2" deep, piercing the skin through to the meat. Cut the hock in half as best you can.
In a large soup pot add beans, hock, bacon, salt pepper and herbs, chopped onion, chopped carrot if using, and tomato paste. Adjust water to ensure hocks are just covered. Bring to a boil, cover pot with lid, then lower heat and cook for 2 hours at a gentle, slow simmer. Soup should be very lightly bubbling only.
After 2 hours turn off heat and lift out hocks, allowing to cool until easy to handle. Pull apart hocks, careful to remove all bones, skin, fat and gristle. Take your time here, it's important. Just small little bits of meat is what you want, nothing else. Once cleaned, chop the meat up into tiny 1/4 inch bits and set aside.
Lift 3 cups of beans and broth out of pot, and using a wand or blender puree until smooth.
Return pureed beans and meat to back into soup. Let settle for 20 minutes then serve.
Take your time cleaning the meat. This is really important. You don't want any skin, fat, bone or gristle in your soup. Also, if you do not puree any of the beans you'll get a thinner soup, whereas the more beans you puree the thicker your soup will be. I've found 3 cups results in a nice hearty, thick soup with plenty of beans.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (170g)|
|Recipe Makes: 12 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 6 (4%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 0.7g||1 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.1g||1 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.6g|
|Cholesterol 0.2mg||0 %|
|Sodium 12.2mg||0 %|
|Potassium 482.8mg||13 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 24.3g||7 %|
|Dietary Fiber 9.5g||38 %|
|Sugars, other 14.8g|
|Protein 8.6g||12 %|
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Calories per serving: 134
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