Originally, I grabbed a bag of small white navy beans to make a beautiful sausage and white bean dish, but when the norovirus took our entire family out of commission last weekend that dish (and anything but minimal effort to cook this week) went out the window.
Have no fear, this quick to prep dish is superb. It’s flavors are complex, the soup is extremely filling, and at around $3 a portion for all organic ingredients, the price tag can’t be beat.
In a way, I’m kind of glad we were ridiculously ill. I got to eat ice pops, watch tv, and rediscover my crockpot.
I recommend freezing a portion or two for those days you want to serve your kid something healthy and homemade, but don’t have the time or energy to do so. Your future self will thank you.
Hearty Ham Hock and White Navy Bean Soup
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Ham Hocks with White Navy Beans
20 minutes prep time plus 15 hrs inactive
Easily makes 8-10 big bowls of soup
- 2 (1 lb) ham hocks, scored
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 lb of small white navy beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight and drained
- 8 cups of chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tsps salt (you may want more or less depending on your stock)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
- ½ cup green onions, thinly sliced
PREP YOUR BEANS THE DAY BEFORE
The day before you want to throw this soup in the crock pot, start prepping your navy beans. Toss the beans into a colander and rinse with water. Push your hands through the beans and remove any small stones or broken/discolored beans. Put the picked through beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water. (I like to do a water to bean ratio of 5:1.) Set aside for at least 10 hrs.
MAKE YOUR SOUP
When you are ready to make your soup, drain the beans and rinse with water. Add all of the ingredients to your crockpot and set it to low for 5 hrs. At the end of 5 hours, spoon as much fat off the top of the soup as you can. (Note: It is much easier to discard the fat after the soup has been refrigerated because the fat rises to the top, congeals, and can be lifted off in pieces and tossed. So, don’t be upset if you can’t get a lot of the fat off on the first go. You can do so with the leftovers.)
PULL THE PORK
Using a slotted spoon or tongs, carefully remove the hot ham hocks from the crock pot and place on a cutting board. (They will be very hot and can easily fall apart as the meat will be extremely tender.) With your hands, remove and discard the large bone in each ham hock. Separate the fat from the meat and discard the fat. Using two forks, pull the meat apart from itself. This should be a very easy and quick task. Return the shredded meat to the crockpot and give a little stir.
Top the soup with fresh parsley and thinly sliced green onions.