Category: Soup

Instant Pot Beef Stock

While prepping my ingredients for dinner yesterday I discovered that my supply of frozen homemade beef stock had disappeared (what the?!?!) so I spent some time in the afternoon making another batch. I keep telling you guys not to use that terrible canned/tetra pack stuff but have never told you how EASY it is to make your own beef stock in an Instant Pot (or other stove-top pressure cooker). It takes a few hours but most of that is hands off, and what you end up is so much more than the sum of its parts.

I save all my beef bones and scraps in the freezer, and supplement them with bones from the butcher. I think I pay around $10 for 6 pounds of organic beef bones and once I supplement with a couple pounds of bones and scraps from dinners here and there I have enough to make 2 batches of stock. Very economical considering the quality.

You may notice I don’t add any salt to my stock while making it but that’s just a personal choice. I like to wait to season the stock so I can customize it to whatever dish I’m using it in but you can season with salt at any time. Remember this when you taste the final stock from the pressure cooker. You’ll think, OMG it needs salt! Yes, yes it does! :)

4 pounds of beef bones and scraps
8 cups of water (my general rule is 2 cups per pound of bones)
1 TBS tomato paste
1 onion, unpeeled but rinsed and quartered
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 tsp whole peppercorns

Optional add ins:
5-6 thin slices ginger, or 1 piece star anise
1 carrot (cut into a few chunks)
1 stalk celery (cut into a few chunks)
1 bay leaf

Blanch the bones by placing in a pot and cover completely with cold water. Bring to boil and let simmer for a couple minutes. Dump the water and rinse the bones. This gets rid of any impurities and makes a cleaner final stock.

Heat oven to 400F. Place blanched bones and any meat scraps on a large cookie sheet. Brush bones with tomato paste. Add quartered onion (with peel, this helps colour the broth) and ginger, carrot and/or celery (if using) to the tray. Roast for 30 minutes.

Once roasted, place the entire contents of the tray in your Instant Pot. Add apple cider vinegar and peppercorns. Pour in 8 cups of cold water. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes and then let natural release for 20 minutes. Repeat twice more but let the pressure naturally release on the final cycle until the pin drops. Your final cooking time for the stock will be 90 minutes on high with 20 minutes of natural release between each cycle, plus about an hour at the end for the pressure to release naturally (about 3 hours altogether). Sounds weird, I know, but this cycling of the pressure makes a much more flavourful stock than just simply cooking for 90 minutes straight.

Strain stock pressing on solids to extract as much flavour as you can. You should get about 8 cups (7 cups after you have skimmed the fat). I sometimes put mine in the fridge overnight which makes it very easy to lift off the fat (remember to save that fat in your fridge for all your delicious frying needs!) If you had a good mix of bones and cooked it long enough you should have a wonderful jelly-like stock once it has cooled. The jelly means you have achieved greatness… give yourself a pat on the back. :)

I freeze the broth in 1 and 2 cup containers, plus one ice cube tray (throw the frozen cubes into a plastic freezer bag for easy storage). Those itty bitty broth cubes (standard size ice cub is 1 ounce or about 2 TBS) are great for recipes that call for a small amount of broth. You can also throw into stir fries, use to make pan sauces, or add to water when making rice or beans for another level of flavour. (You can even throw a cube into your dog’s water dish as a special treat… who, me?!?!)

Chicken and Dumplings

Have I complained enough about mentioned the rain? Here on the west coast we usually enjoy mild, albeit somewhat soggy winters but spring arrived a couple weeks ago and along with it, the beautiful clear blue sky, the sun creeping under my skin and making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, the flowers bursting forth, the…

ummm, what? That didn’t happen?

That pitter-patter on my roof are not birds dancing in the sun? The sound of gushing water is not my washing machine? (I DID wonder how my clothes made it from the bedroom to the laundry room without me). The wet ground is not because my lovely neighbour watered my yard?

Dammit.

Ok. Well, the only way I can see to combat a late spring is to revel in the last few weeks of eating comfort foods. If I’m not warm on the outside I can be warm on the inside.

This is one of my faves and because I know much of the country is still experiencing some winter it may become a new favourite of yours as well. It is is based on my chicken pot pie but I got lazy and decided that making the pastry was waaaay too much work so I opted for dumplings. Soft, fluffy pillows of goodness.

I think we should eat this every day until the REAL spring arrives and I think we should start now!

The stew is on the thinner side (but not watery) which I like with the dumplings. The flavours and method are much like the filling for my chicken pot pie, the perfect thing to let bubble and brew on a chilly afternoon. The dumpling recipe is compliments of Joy the Baker, who uses them in her chicken soup recipe here.

Go forth and… ummmm… stay dry (insert rolling eyes here).

Stew:

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 – 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 8 pieces)
couple glugs of vegetable oil

12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 small or 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices
1 large onion, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small

1/4 cup sherry (optional)
3 cups chicken broth (you know I prefer homemade but whatever you have will be enhanced by simmering the chicken in it)
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1 bay leaf
couple sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme

3 TBS of fat (schmaltz from your fried chicken, or butter at room temperature)
4 TBS all-purpose flour (use 6 TBS if you like a thicker, more gravy-like consistency)

2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp anchovy paste or white miso
1 cup frozen green peas
1 or 2 carrots, diced small
couple shakes of hot pepper flakes, to taste

Dumplings:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 TBS butter, cold
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk, cold

To make the stew:
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a glug of oil over medium-high heat in the bottom of a Dutch oven or large heavy pot. Brown chicken thighs skin-side down until golden, flip and brown the other side. You will want to do this in two batches because crowding the chicken will steam it rather than fry it. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Pour off most of the fat (reserving it to use later in this recipe) leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms and fry until they release their liquid, it evaporates and they start to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.

Use some of the fat you poured off the chicken or heat another glug of oil in the same pot. Add onions, leeks and celery, season with salt and pepper, and saute until softened, about 7 minutes. If using, pour in the sherry and use it to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer until most of the sherry has cooked off and then add chicken broth, milk, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Nestle the browned chicken and any accumulated juices into the pot. Cover and GENTLY simmer 30 minutes, after which the chicken should be fully cooked and tender.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves and sprigs from the thyme if you used fresh. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon and set aside.

In a small bowl, using a fork, mash 3 TBS of the fat from frying the chicken and what you skimmed from the stew (replace any or all of it with butter if you prefer) with the flour into a paste. Ladle some of the warm liquid over it, and stir until smooth. Add a second ladle and stir again. Return this flour mixture to the larger pot, stir to combine. Add the diced carrots, soy sauce, anchovy or miso paste, and hot pepper flakes. Shred or dice the chicken, discarding the bones and skin and return the meat to the pot along with the reserved mushrooms. Bring back to a simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning.

To make the dumplings:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, thyme, and pepper. Add the butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter, break it down into the flour mixture creating small flecks of butter throughout. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk and stir until just combined. Do not to over-stir or the dumplings will be tough.

Bringing it together:
Make sure your stew is at a VERY gentle simmer. Drop generous tablespoon-sized dollops of dumpling dough on top of the stew, about a half inch apart. Cover the stew and continue to let simmer very gently for 10-12 minutes. By that time the dumplings should have risen to double their size and be completely cooked through.

Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

French Onion Soup


I have been craving French onion soup for at least a month. A few weeks ago I bought a 10 pound bag of onions with the plan to make soup and voila!… they sat there. A week later I moved them out to the garage for storage and… they sat there.

Last Friday we went to a French bistro for dinner and French onion soup was back on the menu for winter… yum! But I stopped myself from ordering it because I HAVE A 10 POUND BAG OF ONIONS AT HOME!

So yesterday I did it! I made French onion soup! And it was amaaaaaazing! I used this recipe as a base and if you’re interested why it works so well take 5 minutes to read the back-story. I tweaked the recipe by sort of halving it but using a generous amount of onion, essentially doubling the fish sauce and cider vinegar, and cutting the bread into croutons because I just find it easier to eat that way. My version makes 4 servings (so Husband and I can have it twice) and I used a combination of homemade beef and chicken stock because I make my own. If you are buying stock from the grocery store, just use chicken. There is something wrong with store-bought beef stock. It has a weird tinny taste even if it’s not packaged in a can. If you have a pressure cooker it’s very easy to make at home or just use chicken stock. And, although I haven’t tried it, my guess is this would be tasty with a hearty vegetarian stock as well because much of the flavour comes from those deeply caramelized onions.

Speaking of which…a word about those caramelized onions. Use plain old yellow because the sweet ones make the broth too sweet. If you have a red onion throw that in as well for a more complex flavour. Caramelizing the onions takes some time and a bit of attention. Do them in a skillet over medium low heat. Mine took exactly one hour during which time you can putter around the house returning to the kitchen every 5-10 minutes to give them a stir. If they start to burn lower the heat and if they get too dry just add a splash of water. You don’t need any sugar as some recipes call for. Just a bit of patience and you will be justly rewarded, I guarantee it.

3 tablespoons butter
2 pounds yellow or mixed onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry (fortified wine, or just sub in red wine)
4 cups beef or chicken stock (I used 2 cups each because I freeze it in 2 cup containers)
sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce (optional but you should definitely use it)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
4 slices rustic bread, toasted until crisp, rubbed with cut garlic and cut into large croutons
1 medium clove garlic, halved (to rub the croutons)
Gruyere cheese, grated to top bowls (I used a generous 2 ounces per bowl)

Cut the onions in thin slices (1/4-1/8th inch thick) pole to pole. This will help them maintain their shape. Heat skillet over medium high heat and melt butter. Add onions, frying for 5-10 minutes until translucent. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring every 5-10 minutes until dark golden brown. Turn heat lower if they start to burn and add a splash of water if they get too dry. Mine did not need any water. This should take about an hour.

(10 minutes)

(30 minutes)

(one hour)

Toast your bread slices in the toaster or under a broiler until golden. Rub both sides with the cut side of a clove of garlic. Cut into large croutons and set aside until needed. Grate the cheese and set aside until needed.

When your onions are meltingly caramelized add the sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan to lift up any of the delicious fond that has formed. Stir for a minute or so to burn off the alcohol and then add your stock, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a very gentle simmer and let gently bubble for about 20 minutes until it reaches the consistency you want for your soup. At 20 minutes mine lost about a cup of of liquid and had the velvety mouth-feel I was looking for. Soup can be held at this point for an hour or so off the burner or for a couple days in the fridge.

(beginning of simmer)

(20 minutes)

When you’re ready, reheat the soup if necessary. Preheat the broiler and fill oven-proof soup bowls leaving 1/2 inch of room at the top. Place croutons on top of soup and cover with grated cheese.

Set on a rimmed baking sheet and place on middle rack under broiler until bubbly and golden brown. This should take 5-10 minutes. Watch closely for burning. We ate this as our main course with a hearty salad. Bon appetit!

French Lentil Sausage Rapini Stew

I have something to tell you guys. I did something a few nights ago that scared the heck out of me. Are you ready?… I catered my first dinner. I mean for real! SOMEONE ACTUALLY PAID ME TO COME TO THEIR HOUSE AND COOK FOR THEM! And it was a big success! I still can’t believe it. It was sooooo much work and so stressful and even if I never do it again I feel like I left my safe little world and wandered out into the dark night and KICKED BUTT!

Ahhhhhh.

And now we return you to our regular programming…

I am still recovering from cooking for 3 days straight so I decided to do a one-pot dinner last night and holy, it was gooooood! I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen (love the Deb) as my inspiration but made my usual tweaks.

I reduced the oil to fry the sausage because isn’t sausage “self-oiling”?? I used chicken stock instead of plain water and reduced the amount of liquid to make a thicker stew rather than soup. I amped up the flavour with cheese rinds* and used French lentils because I love the way they keep their shape after cooking and don’t go mushy. Oh, and the biggest change, rapini instead of chard… hello! I LUUUUUV me some rapini. The tasty green bitterness makes my mouth happy. And think of finishing almost any soup or stew with a squeeze of lemon as pixie dust, just a little bit o’ magic to take it over the top.

*(You ARE saving your cheese rinds from your Parmesan and Pecorino, aren’t you? Throw those suckers in the freezer and add them to your soups and stews!)

one glug plus 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 large links of Italian sausage (I used one hot and one sweet), casings removed
1 medium onion, diced (or 1/2 onion plus 1 shallot)
1 celery stalk, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup French green lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can good quality whole tomatoes (Italian plum or San Marzano)
4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
parmesan or other cheese rinds, if you have them
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 bunch of rapini, stalks separated from the leaves, everything chopped into 2″ pieces
Grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1/2 fresh lemon to finish


Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add sausages, breaking up until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, stock or water, cheese rinds if using, and more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a VERY gentle simmer and allow to cook uncovered until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 30-40 minutes. If your soup starts to get dry or too thick, add some water.

When the lentils are cooked, taste and add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you would like more spice. Add the rapini stalks and cook for 2 minutes until just tender. Add the leaves and stir until they are softened, just a minute. Discard the bay leaves and any cheese rinds that haven’t melted into the stew.

To finish, put the 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves in a small skillet over medium heat until the garlic softens and barely starts to brown. Ladle the stew into bowls and drizzle the garlic oil over the top. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon and garnish with the grated cheese. I like to serve with grilled bread or toast.

“All Day” Pho – The Cold Killer!

I have had the worst cold! And not only is it the worst, it is the looooooongest! Seriously, it’s now been 3 weeks. I’M SO OVER IT… GO AWAY! And in this post-holiday, supposedly “get healthy” month, it’s not helpful that I am one of those weirdos who CANNOT GET ENOUGH TO EAT when I have a cold. I don’t know why that is. I’m like a dog eating grass when it feels nauseated. And those people who whimper “Oh, it’s been 3 days and I haven’t been able to eat a bite of food”… are you forking kidding me?!?! Bring on the roast chicken, pasta loaded with sauce (or not), potato chips and cheese. I’ll eat it all!

So after devouring the contents of my fridge, I suddenly had a craving for a somewhat “clean” meal. Hot and spicy and something that would punch this cold in the nose. Pho. Mmmmmmmmm.

I order pho when I’m out for lunch all the time, but I had never tried making it at home. It seemed like a lot of work for a bowl of soup. The rich luscious broth, all those different spices and herbs. Ugh. But shockingly, it wasn’t that difficult. I have been running on about 5% energy for 3 weeks and I still managed to accomplish the best bowl of soup I’ve slurped in a long time, and so can you.

It’s really not “all day”. It’s about 4 hours in total and much of that is lying about watching Netflix while the broth very gently simmers, extracting all the loveliness from the chicken, vegetables and spices. I have made chicken stock many times using leftover carcasses but I had never used a whole chicken before. I was surprised by the the silky tenderness of the meat after gently braising in liquid for 30 minutes.

I don’t have a stock pot big enough for 4 litres (16 cups) of water plus all the other ingredients so I started by simmering the raw quartered chicken, veggies and spices in 12 cups of water. After 30 minutes I removed the now cooked chicken pieces and let cool about 10 minutes, then pulled off the meat. At this point I was able to add a second pre-cooked chicken carcass from the previous night along with the bones, fat and skin from the chicken pieces I just cleaned, plus another 2 cups of water and let simmer for another hour. After which I was able to add the final 2 cups of water (omit the final 2 cups of water if you don’t have a second leftover chicken carcass) and let simmer for the last hour. Finally, strain the broth into a large pot and stir in the fish sauce. Start with 3 tablespoons and add in up to 3 more tablespoons, adjusting for taste as you go. The resulting broth is sublime.

I ended up with about 14 cups of broth (from the original 16 cups of water plus whatever juices came from the chicken). You can skim some of the fat if you want but the point of this broth is its richness so I skimmed only half the fat, leaving the rest in the broth. Kitchen math: Fat = flavour.

This recipe is very loosely based on the many internet versions of Pho Ga by Charles Phan, author of Vietnamese Home Cooking and owner of The Slanted Door restaurants in San Francisco. Some versions suggest you make your own crispy fried shallots for one of the toppings which would be delicious, but I find the fried shallots or onions you can buy at your local grocery store work very well in a pinch, without the deep fry smell lingering in your home for the next 2 days. The broth can be made a day or two ahead of time and when you’re ready, reheat your broth, put some noodles and chicken in the bottom of your bowl, and ladle over the hot broth. I like to add a dollop of Asian chili-garlic sauce and hoisin sauce and mix in a bit. Then top with the green onion, bean sprouts, herbs, shallots, squeeze over some fresh lime and throw on some crispy fried shallots if you wish (I forgot to do this for the picture!).

Broth
2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of unpeeled fresh ginger
4 litres (16 cups) cold water (14 cups if you don’t have a second leftover chicken carcass)
One fresh 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered
1 leftover chicken carcass (if you have one)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 star anise
4 green cardamom pods
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, smashed to loosen the fibres

To finish:
3-6 TBS Asian fish sauce
dried rice noodles, a linguine shape

Garnishes:
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 pound mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup torn basil leaves, Thai basil if you can find it
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 limes, cut into wedges
Asian chili-garlic sauce
Hoisin sauce
Crispy shallots or onions

Char onions and ginger:
Heat a cast iron or other heavy bottomed frying pan with just a bare film of oil over medium high heat. Add quartered onions and ginger slices and char all all sides until onion begins to soften. This will take about 5-10 minutes. Alternatively you could put them on a baking sheet in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes.

Make the broth:
Fill a large pot with 4 litres (16 cups) of water and bring to boil. Add the roasted onions, ginger, raw chicken and second chicken carcass if you have it, and the rest of the broth spices. Lower heat to a very gentle simmer and cook until the chicken is done, about 30 minutes. If your pot isn’t big enough (as mine wasn’t), start out with as much water as will fit into the pot along with the veggies, spices, and raw chicken. Once the raw chicken is cooked you can add in the spare chicken carcass and more water.

After 30 minutes, remove the now cooked chicken pieces, let cool until you are able to handle to remove the meat. Set the meat aside and add the skin and bones back into the broth (along with extra chicken carcass if you haven’t already added) and very gently simmer for another 2 hours. Once finished, strain the broth into a large pot and stir in the fish sauce, to taste.

Putting it together:
Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions. Shred the chicken into large pieces and gather the rest of your garnishes. Place some noodles and chicken in your bowl, add in the Asian child-garlic sauce and hoisin sauce to taste. Ladle over the hot broth and top with garnishes. Enjoy!

Note: the cool noodles and chicken are re-warmed by the hot broth but if the soup isn’t hot enough for your liking, you can heat up the chicken and noodles in the broth while it’s still on the burner, then divide between individual bowls. But I would only add the chicken and noodles to the amount of broth you are going to eat in one sitting, reserving the rest of the clear broth for another day or the freezer.

Watermelon Gazpacho (Summer in a Bowl)

watermelon gaz6I know some East-Coasters have been suffering through a very hot summer but I couldn’t help feel just a little bit jealous as I sat in the searing +18C degree heat (can you hear the sarcasm?) of a very mediocre June and somewhat mediocre July. Then suddenly, summer arrived the first few weeks of August. And although it’s gone again now (arrrghhhh fall… really?!?!) I am harkening back to the days of two weeks ago when all was merry and bright and beautifully WARM. I’m talking “no sweater required at 9:00pm WARM”. Not this ridiculous “oh the sun has gone behind a cloud where the heck is my jacket” weather.

The good weather was a blessing a few weeks ago when I planned an outdoor dinner that put many of my newly learned culinary school skills to the test. Six courses, several consisting of two or three separate main elements and a number of different garnishes. It was fun, stressful, and a good learning experience. The third course was my lifeline as it was prepared the day before (no last minute fussing) and simply garnished with toasted almonds. It gave me a breather in the middle of the meal and provided a wonderful palate cleanser. It is none other than… TA DAAAAAA… watermelon gazpacho!

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White Bean Soup

bean soup finishI’m baaaaack! I had an amazing time in Paris with my best friend and then in Venice and Rome with Husband. I saw my favourite painting again (I will never tire of sitting in front of it), found the third Statue of Liberty, explored two new (to us) cities, and walked until we thought our feet would fall off. We had some incredible food (that minted pea soup in Paris… I will never be the same), and ate in a 3-star Michelin restaurant. I have tons of new recipe ideas but, today, I am seeking comfort food. Fall somehow arrived while we were away… how did that happen?!?! I need a food hug to help get over the jetlag, my disappointment that summer is over (wahhh), and the fact that I have to go back to work (blechh).

I’m not using a recipe… just winging it with some basics picked up on our 7:00am trip to the grocery store (one thing about jetlag, it does make you efficient) and what I have at home.

This is your chance to use whatever herbs you have growing in your garden as well as that parmesan rind you have sitting in the freezer. If you don’t have a parmesan rind, you can substitute 2 TBS of finely grated parmesan into the soup at the end (but, Lordy, please not the stuff in the green can).

1 pound dry cannellini beans
12 cups water
1 meaty smoked ham hock (mine was so big, 3 pounds, I had the butcher cut it in half, but you can use a 1-2 pounder)
Fresh herbs to taste (I used several small sprigs of thyme, 3-4 sage leaves and a small handful of oregano. Use whatever you have in the garden. Fresh Italian parsley would also be good.)
2 medium carrots, medium dice
2 medium stalks of celery (I like to peel mine to get rid of the strings), medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1-2 bay leaves
1 parmesan rind or 2 TBS finely grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tsp sea salt, plus more as needed
pepper
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
juice from 1/2 lemon to finish

Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Alternatively, you can boil a pot of water, remove from heat, add the beans and allow to soak 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

Put ham hock and 12 cups of water in a large, heavy-bottomed pot on high heat. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to simmer gently for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, add the soaked beans, the fresh herbs and bay leaf to the pot. Continue to simmer until the beans are almost tender (they will cook more later), approximately 45 minutes. During this time, skim the surface with a spoon if any scum forms.

bean soup simmer

Add diced carrots, celery, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt to the pot (add the parmesan rind here as well, if using). If it looks like too much water has evaporated, feel free to add another cup to the pot at this point. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans and vegetables are tender and the meat is falling off the bone. Approximately another 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

bean soup simmer2

Remove the ham hock to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to remove and dice the meat from the bones. Discard the skin and bones. Remove the thyme stems, bay and other leafy greens, and parmesan rind from the soup. If you didn’t use a parmesan rind and want that wonderful, deep umami flavour, add a couple tablespoons of finely ground parmesan cheese at this point.

Using a potato masher, lightly mash some of the beans and vegetables to thicken the soup to the consistency you want. Stir in the diced pork. Squeeze in juice from 1/2 lemon. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper.

bean soup with meat