After having a pork shank leg roast, there was a large pork bone left over, that was just perfect for making bean soup. Good old fashion comfort food that is good anytime of the year. I always save my ham and pork bones from a roast to use for stock. If I don’t have time to make the stock, I just freeze the bones for later use with a little of the left over meat scraps. The bones will store well for a couple of months. It is great to have on hand when you are out of money and meal ideas.
I keep in my pantry staples assortment of canned beans. such as navy beans, pinto beans. red kidney beans, black beans and chick peas. You can also keep dried soup beans on hand when you have time to spend on soup making and they are even cheaper then the canned beans. The canned beans are great when you didn’t have time to soak over night the beans and several hours to cook them.
I sometimes cook dried beans in the crock pot overnight by themselves, then freeze them in meal size portions to use later. This will save you time. You can also cook them the standard stove top method by following the directions on the package of beans. It makes soup more interesting when there is more then one type of bean, also you can serve them as a vegetable with meals. Growing up my neighbor’s husband would eat a small sauce bowl of beans with his supper every night. He grew up very poor and the was what his mother fixed as a side dish. He would ask where is his beans, if they were not on the table? To him the beans were just as important as bread.
A shank bone is large which requires a large pot like a stock pot or dutch oven pot. The best method for making soup stock is to start out with sliced or chopped onion in the bottom of the pot with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. To that you can add some shopped celery and a little salt. Let cook over medium heat stirring once in a while until the onions are soft. The celery and onions will sweat and caramelize a little. Then you just add your bone and enough water to cover it. This is also a good time to add some herbs that you might have on hand that goes well in soup. Bring to a boil, cover with lid and reduce heat to let the stock simmer.
Stock should take about 1 1/2 hour to 2 hours. You will know when it is ready because the joint will have fallen apart and the meat will have fallen off of the bone. Some people like to pour the stock into a strainer that is in another large pan. I don’t when the bone is big. I just pick the bone out and all the meat with a slotted spoon. I put the meat on a plate to cool so I can pick through it with a fork to remove any small bones and cartilage from it. I then return the meat to the stock.
Bean and Pork Soup
Prepare pork stock as described in the above paragraphs.
1 can white northern beans
1 can pinto beans
4 potatoes peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 cup miniature bow knot macaroni (or any other macaroni)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
Bring stock and vegetables to a boil. Add macaroni, salt and pepper and let gently boil until potatoes and macaroni is tender. That takes about 20 minutes. Add the herbs on top and serve. Serves 6.
Serve with corn bread to complete the meal. This soup makes great leftovers for the next day. It also freezes well for a month at least that is all the longer it stays in my freezer because it is so well liked.