Bean soup...mmmmmm

About once a year I get a craving for beans and smoked hamhocks with cornbread. It’s overwhelming, really. Over the years, I’d gotten away from the hamhocks because the only ones I could find were nearly solid fat. I moved on to smoked sausage or smoked pork chops. But the other day I was in the local market and spotted smoked hocks in the butcher’s case: “Strange,” I thought. “Those actually look edible.”

So I took a chance, buying a very large specimen. Great northern beans, pinto beans, onions, celery, garlic, the hock, and many hours on a low simmer: perfection! Skimmed off the fat after it cooled and the result from the long simmer is a beautiful cloudy liquor, rich in flavor. Crank some black pepper on top, and a plate of buttered cornbread and honey on the side. It just doesn’t get much better than that for comfort food.

Bean soup is great!

Along similar lines, I made a really really good split-pea soup last week. Split peas, water, salt, cooked in a rice cooker for several hours, then refrigerated overnight, then cooked again. Most of the peas dissolved away, giving a thick, smooth texture.

Yummy! I thought about adding something more to it. Diced ham or carrots or ground black pepper. But it was so good by itself I couldn’t bring myself to adulterate its simple perfection.

There’s one market near me that is somewhat expensive, but has really meaty ham hocks that the butchers will saw in tow for you.

Recently though, my local Safeway began carrying smoked pig femurs. No meat on them at all, but the flavor they impart to soup is intense, rich, and bacony. I’ve made black bean soup and split pea soup using the femurs, and I don’t miss the meat at all.

I was at a dopefest atChefTroy’s house one time where he served black bean soup. He had cut up some ham steaks, fried them a bit, and used them either instead of or with ham hocks, in order for the soup to have enough meat in it. I have used this method with great success.
The ham hocks available around here seem to be mostly skin and bone. They don’t even have a lot of fat on them, much less meat.

Oh, and I use a gravy separator for most soups. It’s amazing how much fat is in homemade chicken stock that’s made from a whole chicken.

I can be there in about 12 hours, Chefguy. :slight_smile:

I haven’t had bean soup in ages; my dad used to make it, and we were the only two who really ate it. You probably don’t want to hear that we add ketchup to it.


We add mustard… plain yellow french’s. Just like hot dogs, ketchup should never come near bean soup, only mustard.

I like a few shots of hot sauce in my beans on occasion, but not as a rule. By the way, does anybody think that the three bowls I had for dinner are going to cause a problem later?

Good lord! What is this?

It’s bean soup.

I don’t care what it’s been! What is it now?

The local butcher has smoked pig shanks specifically for soup… they are a pretty acceptable meaty middle between the hock and the knee. A three finger thick slice/section has about the perfect proportion of fat, collagen, and meat for a pot o beans. However the best beansoup I ever had was made with a whole Smithfield Country Hambone.

I add ketchup too – it adds some sweetness and some nice color. Mine is just beans, ketchup, onion, a bit of garlic, and a nice smoked ham hock. There’s a local place that smokes their own meat, and the hocks (shanks) are very meaty.

Heck, I even like Campbell’s bean soup.

I was just in the Thin Mints thread and now saw this one. I know what’s for dinner tonight.

I love bean soup, but haven’t tried to make my own yet. Campbell’s Bean and Bacon is the best I can do until I can get back to McGuire’s Irish pub in Pensacola for their bean soup. Can I just throw the dry beans in a crock pot with everything else to simmer, or do I need to rehydrate them ahead of time?

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!”
“Please lower your voice sir, or everyone will want one.”

When I was a kid my sister would slice a hot dog lengthwise. Then she’d cut it crosswise. She’s put Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup in the middle, and then put strips of American cheese in the cross cuts and broil them. Tasty, if you’re a kid.

My usual bean soup is ham hocks and black-eyed peas. Soak the beans overnight, drain and rinse, add water and a couple of ham hocks, cook in the crock pot for six to eight hours, remove the bones, skin and fat, shred the pig and return to the pot. This also works quite well with pinto beans.

I would put the beans in a pot of water on the stove, along with a pinch of baking soda, bring it to a boil for two minutes, cover and turn off the heat. Let it stand for an hour, drain, rinse, and then add them to your crockpot. The baking soda helps break down the tough outer skin on the beans, and the hot soak will hydrate the beans. If you’re using a hamhock or sausage, you’ll want to skim the fat off either while they’re cooking, or chill the pot afterwards and scoop it off then.

That doesn’t sound too hard. I think I’ll try making my own soon. My favorite bean soup has white beans and broth and is very mild. Campbell’s broth is more orange, approaching the pork n’ beans broth, which I don’t care for at all.

Damn. Damndamndamndamndamn! Another fine post I don’t get to make.

Half bag of White Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed.
Hambone or Hock (smoked preferable)
1 large Onion chopped
3 carrots sliced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Water to cover by twice
Salt and Pepper

Sautee the onions and carrots in a large soup pot for about 7 minutes on med heat along with the bone in the cooking oil. Add back the beans, add water to cover plus two times as much. Boil for around three to four hours, about two or three hours in remove the hock bone and strip it of meat and add the meat back to the soup, add more water if the soup drops too far… stir often and towards the end stir the tender beans violently with a smush to get the proper consistency and some broken beans. At the end season with salt and pepper.

Sometimes, I add in a peeled and cubed potato… barely noticeable, but I think it helps with texture and consistency in the end smush.

That should actually be water to cover by thrice: enough to cover once, then twice as much.

For the WIN!!!