2 Large or 3 Medium SMOKED TURKEY LEGS or SMOKED THIGHS
1 lb navy beans or other small white beans, soaked in water several hours
1/4 c olive oil
1 Large onion, chopped
1 c thinly sliced celery
3 Cloves fresh garlic, minced
32 oz diced canned tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste
1 tbsp each fresh thyme, rosemary and sage, finely chopped
1/4 c fresh parsley, finely chopped
To Taste salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Garnish freshly grated Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil and/or chopped fresh chives
Place turkey legs into a large stockpot (3 to 5 gallons). Add cold water to stockpot until turkey legs are covered with 1 inch water. Place stockpot over high heat and bring to a boil. Skim away any foam. After a gentle boil is reached, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer turkey legs gently 3 to 4 hours.
Remove turkey legs to a serving plate and allow to cool until they can be handled.
Continue simmering broth until it reduces to about 1 gallon. Strain broth and add beans and about 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer beans gently until they are tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove all turkey meat from the bones while beans are cooking. Discard turkey skin, bone slivers, etc. Break turkey meat into bite sized chunks and refrigerate until service.
When beans are tender, remove from broth. Reserve covered beans and broth in refrigerate, until service.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Heat olive oil, add onion, celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are translucent.
Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until blended. Add reserved turkey broth.
Bring soup to a boil: immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
Add cooked beans and turkey meat. Correct for salt and pepper and simmer another 20 minutes or so.
Add chopped herbs to the soup just before serving.
Offer grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil and/or chopped chives as a garnish. Serve hot.
NOTE: This is a hearty soup; the beans may begin to fall apart lending a lovely thickness to the soup. The soup also makes a great main course for a light meal when served with a salad and good crusty bread.