John Ash’s Grandmother’s White Bean Soup

white bean soupThis was a bit of a disappointment. I made my own chicken stock. I got a big beautiful smoked ham-hock from Gene’s Sausage Shop. I soaked the beans! and it still ended up as an “ehhh” recipe.

I made chicken stock on Sunday evening with some chicken backs that I had in the freezer and a couple of wings. (simmered for 1.5 hours with celery, sweet onions, carrots, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, peppercorns)

The next morning I put 2 cups of navy beans in water and soaked them all day while I was at work.

After yoga class I sauted 2 cups of sliced onions, 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, 1 cup each of diced carrots and celery.  I added 8 cups of the stock, 2 cups of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a 1.4 lb ham-hock, 2 teaspoons of dried thyme, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 2 large bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

After that simmered for 1 hour, I gave up on having really good beans and added the 2 15oz cans of diced tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley. I think the navy beans were old because they just didn’t ever get tender and the skins stayed chewy.

At this point it was almost 11pm and I was tired but it was really too hot to put in the refrigerator. It takes a long time for 10 cups of soup and a giant ham-hock to cool down, so I actually set my alarm to get up in a couple hours to put it in the fridge.

It was a little cooler when I staggered into the kitchen and groggily put it in the fridge at 1 am.

The next evening I put most of it in the freezer and heated some up for my dinner with shredded cabbage and some parm.

My suggestions for improvement: your chicken stock should include garlic and perhaps some salt, the Virginia Willis version, make sure your dried beans aren’t antique. I.e. buy the bagged Goya ones at your little local grocery which have a good turn around time. Not the bulk bin ones at Whole Foods, because apparently all anyone really gets from the bulk bins at Whole Foods is pre-made trail mix/granola.

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