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Pork, Beans & Greens Soup

Pork, Beans & Greens Soup

The conversation was meant to be about reducing food waste, perhaps looking at ways to creatively use up remains of our meals, or remnant bits of our sometimes wasted food ingredients. With the scheduled webinar instruction on the topic still some hours yet to begin, simple provisions take on a new sort of urgency, for as I type with slightly chilled, nimble fingers, today marks its own defining day, the stern and serious call of winter’s arrival, it’s simple reprieve in early evening, a steaming hot bowl of Pork, Beans & Greens Soup.

 

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The westerly wind blew its notice last evening with a much colder chill than a jilted lover. It’s great long breaths producing sound like a cold icy creature consuming the spanned sky above, whoosh, whooo, whoosh, whooo, relentlessly puffing, puffing, puffing, its gusting powerful force. Tiny bits of ash flutter through the surrounded brick opening with mesh wire covering, remnants of a once crackling fire, but not today, for the piercing cold icy creature roars with gale, consuming all in its path, a stern reminder of nature’s power that we dare hardly challenge. 

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Thirteen days it’s been since bidding farewell to friends celebrating the first day of the New Year with lucky foods. The celebration included large pork roasts, first gently browned all over in the remains of  a mere few bacon slices before setting into slow cookers, simmering to the perfect tenderness with onion slices, bay leaves. The slow cooker bottom held some liquid moisture, maybe three quarters of an inch combined chicken and beef broths earlier prepared from roasted bones providing those simple but healthy ways to fully maximize our foods, and the nutrients they provide.

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Only  just a few moments after departure of the feast, remaining juices from the slow cookers were collected into containers, tender slices of pork meat chopped, a bag of Great Northern beans soaked in a pot of cold water overnight.  New beginnings were underway, Pork, Beans & Greens Soup was prepared, the hearty meal frozen, readying for just this moment, the day the westward wind relentlessly blew its wrath of gale, whoosh, whooo, whoosh, whooo, marking it’s own defining day, the stern and serious call of winters arrival.

Pork, Beans & Greens Soup
a perfect way to use up leftover slow cooker pork along with the collected juices.
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For the beans
  1. 1 pound bag northern white beans, rinsed, picked through for any pebbles or residue, soaked in a large pot of cold water covered by a few inches overnight
  2. 1 onion, cut in half
  3. 2 bay leaves
For the Soup
  1. 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. 3 carrots, peeled, chopped
  4. 2-3 celery, chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 1-2 bay leaves
  7. 8 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stem
  8. 1-2 cups leftover pork cooked in slow cooker, chopped
  9. Strained pork juices from slow cooker pork plus enough chicken stock or broth to measure 3-4 quarts liquid
  10. 1 1/2- 2 cups kale, chopped and cooked in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, drained, squeezed dry
  11. 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt, more or less to taste
  12. 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, more or less to taste
  13. fresh grated Parmesan for topping, optional
For the beans
  1. Drain beans after soaking in cold water overnight, rinse and return to pot filling with cold water to cover a few inches or more. Drop in halved onion and bay leaves placing bean pot on high heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium after boiling and cook until beans are very tender, anywhere from 35-50 minutes. Drain cooked beans and proceed with cooking the soup.
  2. Add olive oil to a large size soup pot on very low heat, tumble in the onion, carrots and celery, cook about ten minutes until very well softened then stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme, cook two minutes. Add in the cooked northern white beans, stir throughout, heat through a few minutes, scrape in the chopped pork, cook another couple of minutes just to heat pork through with the other ingredients. Pour in 3 quarts of the liquid, stir, let simmer around 40 minutes or so on very low heat. Fish out bay leaves and discard. Remove about one quarter or a bit more of the soup and process in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Return mixture back to pot, stir, and continue to cook another fifteen minutes or so. Add in the cooked chopped kale, stir, add in salt and pepper, check seasoning, adding in more salt if necessary. Let soup simmer another fifteen minutes or longer adding in more of the last quart of broth as soup thickens, reserving some for later use as the bean soup may thicken and require more liquid unless served right away. Top off with fresh grated Parmesan if desired.
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6 Comments

  1. Posted January 13, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    That looks like my MIL’s stew. Delicious! Perfect for a cold, snowy day, and even better the next day!
    Kelly recently posted…Powerball Mania and What I Won’t Be Buying with my WinningsMy Profile

    • Posted January 14, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, thanks so much, a very rich and filling soup. I love to prepare it with leftover slow cooker pork and the juices collected at the bottom. I do find it needs more liquid on the next day for it thickens up so much.

  2. Posted January 15, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, what a delicious and comforting soup, sounds like you are starting to get some crazy weather.
    cheri recently posted…Vegetable Lo MeinMy Profile

    • Posted January 16, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Cheri, delicious soup it is, the weather gets crazier today in the 50’s…. this is the most bizarre winter ever. I’m thinking of rotating some fresh tomato and corn on the cob recipes between the soups, every season within one season!

  3. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Dear Peggy, this recipe of yours looks like a winning candidate for our “Love Your Leftovers” (LYL) project – maybe you would like to add it to the facebook page of The Cottage Cooking Club – I had asked for members to maybe post their LYL recipes there…all in the spirit of our up-coming project!
    Thanks for the inspirational and delicious sounding recipe – got to pull out that slow cooker again!
    Hope the winter weather is is easy on all of you!
    Andrea

    • Posted January 22, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Hi Andrea, thanks so much. It is great to see you and hope these first weeks of the New Year have been off to a great start. We are readying for a big snow storm beginning this evening (just in time to still make my hair appointment then get a new ‘over 50’ photo shot for my social media) Thank you on the leftover posting I will try and swing back on that this evening, I hadn’t caught that, although I did catch your new books announcement that includes the book on Leftovers, should be a great continuum along with the River Cottage Book! Well, off to the bus stop…. see you soon. Big Hugs.

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.