Ham Hock and Lima Beans

1 large meaty ham hock
4-8 cups large lima beans (cooked)
1 clove garlic, minced
4 medium onions, peeled & quartered
Salt to taste
Optional: 2 or 3 stalks celery and/or 2 or 3 carrots, cut into pieces

Cover ham hocks with water, add onions and garlic, and simmer until tender (about 2 hours). Add celery and carrots for last hour of cooking. When ham is done, remove from pot to cool until it can be handled. Remove skin and bones and cut meat into bite-size pieces. Return ham to pot and add drained limas. Cook uncovered for about an hour. Taste, adding salt if needed. Mixture should be of thick soup consistency. Add water to thin or mashed beans to thicken. Serve hot in individual bowls with hot cornbread. You may also choose to serve over rice.

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