"This was one of my father's favorite dishes, a staple of Depression-era cooking when fresh meat was scarce and soup stretched everything. Simmered until thick, with chunks of ham - even lima-bean-haters enjoy this hearty soup."
Place beans in a large pot; cover with 2 inches water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 to 2 hours. Drain and rinse. Transfer beans to another container.
Combine ham bone and 8 cups water in a large saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until remaining meat falls off the bone, about 2 hours. Remove and discard bone. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until onion is translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add cooked ham bone meat, lima beans, and diced ham. Reduce heat and simmer, adding additional water as needed, until soup is thickened to desired consistency, about 90 minutes.
Stir carrots, salt, pepper, and parsley into the soup. Let simmer until carrots are soft, about 30 minutes more.
If you don't have a ham bone, you can also use 1/2 pound bacon or salt pork. Add the bacon or pork to the pan over medium heat, and let cook for a few minutes. Add onions and celery and stir-fry for 7 to 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and bacon is cooked.
Per Serving: 296 calories;7.5 g fat;
40.5 g carbohydrates;
17.9 g protein;
16 mg cholesterol;
710 mg sodium.