Baked White Bean, Ham & Bitter Greens Soup

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~ Serves 6 to 8

The sweetness of Rockside Ranch smoked ham hock pairs perfectly with vermouth and allspice. Baking this soup makes it easy to prepare and avoids burning the beans. Serve with crusty sourdough and good butter or olive oil.

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 or 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 Tbls minced fresh thyme, minced (1 Tbls. or 1 to 2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 12 cups cannellini or Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth, optional
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 1 quart chicken, pork, vegetable broth or bean water
  • 1 head escarole, radicchio or mustard greens coarsely chopped & washed
  • A drizzle of good red wine vinegar

  1. Bring to a boil  2 quarts of water in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the drained beans and ham hock and cook until the beans are tender but still firm and not mushy, 30 to 40 minutes depending on the beans. Remove the ham hock and set aside. Drain the beans reserving the water if you plan on using it for your broth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F
  3. Rinse and dry the pot. Heat 2 to 4 Tbls of olive oil in the pot and add the onion, carrot and celery and sweat the vegetables, covered, for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, allspice, thyme, bay leaves and vermouth and stir to combine.
  5. Add the beans and just enough broth or bean water to cover the beans by about 1/2-inch. Nestle the ham hock into the center of the beans.
  6. Bring to a boil and then place in the oven.
  7. Bake the soup for 30 to 45 minutes, checking occasionally, and adding broth if needed. Continue to cook until the beans are done to your liking. The beans should be firm but tender to mushy and the pork, tender. Bake an additional 45 minutes to an hour as needed.
  8. Once the beans are cooked, stir in the greens, cover, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until greens are wilted and tender.
  9. Turn off the heat and add a few drops of vinegar or more vermouth and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve in bowls with a piece of the ham and a drizzle of olive oil.

Note:

  • Timing depends on the beans used and the length of time that they were soaked. The soup can take from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours. Give yourself lots of time. It’s also delicious made ahead.
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