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:
NAVY BEAN SOUP
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.