To cook the beans, drain and rinse them, and put in a large pan with the ham hock and approximately twice their volume of water. Bring to the boil, drain and discard the water. Replace with fresh cold water in the same proportion and return to the boil. Turn the heat down low and skim thoroughly. Add the bouquet garni and simmer until the beans are tender, between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the age of the beans (the older the drier, the longer to cook). Allow to cool in their liquor. Keep the bouquet garni. This part is the protein of the dish, the solid heart, now for the flavours.
To cook the soup,
Put the diced vegetables, apart from the potatoes, in an ovenproof casserole with
Cover the casserole and
Remove from the oven and leave in a safe place, lid on, to cool down (it will be volcanically hot).
Serve directly from the casserole, opening it at the table. Offer grated Parmesan and new-season olive oil.