Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Culinary THROW DOWN: Beef 'n' Beans

Señor Karl is the host of this month's Culinary Throw Down, and his choice of theme is beef 'n' beans. Head on over to his site to see who's participating, then visit the individual bloggers to check out their recipes.

I have once again been honored with the task of judging this Throw Down, the winner of which will receive the fabulous Luchador de la Cocina badge shown above, created exclusively for this culinary meme by the equally fabulous K9.

Moi, I did soup. Again. So shoot me. It's winter and I've been trying for months to perfect a simple navy bean soup with enough heartiness to serve as a full meal for lunch or for dinner. That's because S.B. came home in December from a two-week job in Wherethefuckarewe North Dakota raving about a navy bean soup he was served each night at his hotel. And I'm not about to be outdone by someone who makes a living fattening up the local denizens for the winter. Well. Without tooting my horn too loudly, I think I achieved a pretty yummy soup, the secret to which, of course, is a good quantity of flavorful MEAT.

I used a recipe I found in From a Louisiana Kitchen and tweaked it a bit. Here you go:

Makes 10-12 servings

1 pound (2 cups) dried navy beans
12 cups water
2 smoked pork chops, cut one inch thick (if your butcher doesn't offer smoked pork chops, use a very large, meaty ham bone or hock)
1 cup celery, chopped medium fine
1 cup carrots, chopped medium fine
1 large onion, chopped medium fine
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Meat from chops or ham bone, cut into small 1/4 inch pieces
4 beef hot links, cut into rounds and then quartered

Rinse beans well under warm running water and pick out any shrunken beans or other debris. Put in six quart pot, cover with 8 cups of water, and let soak in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.

Add chops or ham bone/hock, an additional 4 cups of water, and bring to a roiling boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low, and cover, simmering for two hours or until beans are just tender. Lift lid on occasion to stir and make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once beans are tender, add chopped celery, carrots, onions, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover and cook an hour longer, until beans are very tender. Remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove chops and or ham bone, trim of all meat, and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Return meat to pot and add chopped beef hot links. Serve.


Buzz Kill said...

This is similar to one I made for Shamu's DSS a few weeks ago. I only used ham and no celery or bay leaf. And I used chicken stock instead of water. It was good but not as hearty as I remember my mother making. I'm still trying to get my mom's recipe from one of my sisters.

Did you find the carrots mushy? That was a problem I had. Next time I make it, I may put the carrots in later with maybe an hour to go). I like that you added sausage with the ham. Never thought of that. I'll bet that added some great flavor to the broth and beans.

I'm a bystander this week, so I'll just throw my 2 cents around at the other competitors. Well done.

TROLL Y2K said...

Looks really excellent and I'll bet it smelled and tasted great. Love the hot link addition. I'm making 15 bean soup tomorrow (hambean brand) and I will add spicy sausage to the chicken now. Thanks for inspiration!

Happy Throwdown Day!

Boxer said...

bwahahaha - "Wherethefuckarewe North Dakota" Who the hell gets good food there?

This looks great and I'm interested in soups because they are cooked on TOP of the stove (which works.) I have a black bean soup recipe that's pretty ding-dang fabulous that I may make this weekend.

moi said...

Buzz: I keep the carrots pretty small, so I don't notice any mushiness, but, yes, you can put them in at the last minute. Although I think they do add an important flavor element with the long cook time. I remember your soup and made it a point to try chicken broth, but forgot. I think that would add an extra punch of flavor.

Troll: FIFTEEN bean soup? I didn't know there were 15 beans in the entire universe, much less a soup. Let us know how it turns out.

Boxer: Look out! You're on a roll! I make black bean soup a lot. And I've substituted veggie broth for chicken on a few occasions and can't tell the difference. My secret is cumin, coriander, and finely chopped smoked red peppers. Let me know how it goes!

Kymical Reactions said...

I've never actually had Navy Bean Soup, but you make me want to try it. Soon. I will be around to visit all the other entries tonight when I get home. xx.

Karl said...

Good afternoon Moi,

A much blander version of this soup was a staple in our house when I was growing up. You have made great improvements on what we used to have. The hot links are really a neat touch.

Definitely a meal to look forward to. Great job Moi.

By the way, I think I worked there for awhile isn't just down the road from whotheheckcares. Not too bad in the summer but miserable in the winter.

fishy said...

Well this is going on my recipes to try list. I love homemade soups. In fact, on the rare occasion I attempt to serve any other kind of soup to Blowfish or Mermaid, I face a serious mutiny. Usually the store bought soups are fed to the disposal.
New hearty soup recipes are to be treasured.

I know it's hard to believe, but I actually did this challenge :-)

busy rotty said...

i am going to post late tonight so dont count me out - even though i will not win im still in it!

moi said...

Kym: Navy bean soup always makes me think of that Seinfeld episode when Elaine baby talks while feeding it to her elderly charge.

Karl: Yes, and about an icycle's throw away from Tooswaddledinheavyclothingtotellthesexesapartville.

Fishy: Yay, I'll be right over!

Rotty: No worries, chica. I won't get around to posting the wieners until Friday anyhoo. I look forward to your entry!

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Floridacracker said...

Sounds perfect for winter ... even winter down here.
That and some crusty bread makes a complete meal.

Aunty Belle said...

I can go wif' this. Oh yes.

When I'se stressed, I make soup. AN' I'se addin' this one immediately to the line up.

BTW, in mah view, bay leaf is essential--it adds that somethin' so , uh..deep. another layer of flavor. Excellent.

bearly domesticated boneman said...

well, I'll tell you what. Every since having cans of something called Hobo Soup up in Minnesota, I've been looking for close proximities/
Still haven't found any BUT the picture you have here looks real close.
I gotta try.
It's more a flavor thing.
I missed it something fierce. From the early sixties.

moi said...

Annoymous: Back away from the Babelfish . . .

Florida: Yup. Since I work at home and cook 24/7, I've found soups easy to do and they stretch into meals for days.

Aunty: I think bay leaf straddles that line between ubiquitous and mysterious. We take for granted that it goes into soups, stews, and sauces, but what is it doing, really? But you're right, it's a must.

Boneman: I Googled Hobo Soup and it seems leeks and potatoes are used on occasion, too, along with corned beef. The original recipe from which this soup sprung called for one whole potato, but I left it out, thinking it would rightly add too much starch. I think the soup thickens up just fine with only the beans and carrots. Try it! It's really easy to make and I'm surprised at just how flavorful.

TROLL Y2K said...

Have I told you lately that I love you because you are the Wind beneath my Wings and everything else good?

Have you read the Frances Hunter Blog lately? Great recent stuff, methinks.

moi said...

Chef Troll: Flattery will certainly make me smile; however, if it's the stuff of sure fire bribes you're looking for, you should know the secret by now: Loo-boo-tahn. Nice try, though.

I'll check out the L&C blog; thanks for the head's up.

Joanna Cake said...

It sounds divine! And Im sure that Ruf could adapt it to make it vegan too :)

Big Shamu said...

I guess now we'll see just how badly Troll wants to win. Waiting for the right size shoes to show up at Moi's snow packed door. Classic black or something flashy in red? (Here's a hint....BOTH!)

I love soups and I just don't make bean soups enough. I don't know why, beans are easy to keep in the pantry. This looks perfect. (Laboutin perfect)

Something in a boot?

LaDivaCucina said...

Moi, you always lose out on your own entry by being judge and dat ain't right! I loves me some smoked sausage in any kind of bean soup, it adds such a nice flavor! YUM! Great job!