It’s that time of year when we’re all thinking about soups and stews again… If you’re a cook, then it’s that time of year when you’re thinking about making those soups and stews again- Starting them with your morning coffee and letting them simmer all day long, perfuming your home with their intoxicating aromas… It’s just such a wonderful thing to do, make soups. They’re so easy, so inexpensive to make, and always satisfying. To be perfectly honest, I actually love making soups way more than I like eating them… So if any of you are big soup eaters, you and I need to talk.
This particular soup recipe came to me as I was in the grocery store and laid eyes on a package of pork neck bones. The very first thing I thought of was this soup. I cooked it in my head while perusing the aisles. I love any time I can make something that makes me feel like I’m from another generation. When I can make something using alternate cuts of meat and simple ingredients and have it turn out so well…I’m a happy, happy girl.
And this incredibly delicious soup that’s so satisfying and hearty, not to mention beautiful, cost me only $4. For the whole pot. And I could feed up to 14 people if I wanted to. That’s about a quarter per serving. Isn’t that insane?! LOVE THAT.
So here it is, folks. I do hope you enjoy making it as much as I did!
FENNEL BEAN SOUP WITH PORK
|(makes 14 cups)|
Season ~2 pounds of pork neck bones liberally with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, ground fennel and ground allspice.
Brown each piece on all sides in a large, dry soup pot on medium-high heat. Do this in batches if need be. Set aside.
Next, your mirepoix, etc…
-3 large carrots, diced
-3 celery stalks, diced
-1 medium-large onion, diced
(-if you have fresh fennel, I love the addition of 1 bulb, diced in this soup…but it’s still wonderful (and cheaper) without it!!)
–6 or so garlic cloves, minced
After all your meat has been browned and removed, add your veggies to the pot with a little bit of oil. Season aggressively with kosher salt.
Allow the veggies to sweat a bit, the salt will cause them to release some liquid. Pour about 1/2 cup of dry, white wine and let it bubble it a bit. Throw in 2 bay leaves and 2 rosemary stalks and a 1 pound bag of dried mixed beans. Stir well. Season again with kosher salt.
Nestle back in your pork bones.
Add 8 cups/2 quarts of water to the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the beans have softened to your liking. Taste to check seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
Remove the bay leaves, rosemary stems (the leaves have all fallen off now) and all the meat pieces. Discard the leaves/stems and pick the meat off the bones.
Discard the bones and add the meat back to the soup pot.
Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley leaves, a drizzle of good olive oil if desired, and maybe a little flaky sea salt.
And a large hunk of crusty bread never hurt anyone either!
For the Italian Boule bread you’re seeing above, check out THIS LINK to the recipe.