Some will quibble with me titling this recipe meatless, and they certainly would be justified. Pork is cooked with the beans for flavor and then removed. If you are not eating meat for ethical or religious reasons, by all means, alter the recipe. If, however, you are trying to eat less meat and more veggies and happen to have a ham hock or rind in the freezer, rock on as directed.

White Bean Soup with Fried Sage Leaves
1 pound dried white navy beans
1 carrot, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
ham rind and/or hock
water
ground black pepper
sage leaves
oil or pork fat

Remove any rocks or debris from dried beans and soak over night. Discard soaking water. Add vegetables, bay leaves, ham hock and/or rind, and pepper. Cover with water, about double the depth of your vegetables. Bring to a boil. immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover but leave lid slightly askew. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Add additional seasoning to taste. Discard bay leaves and ham rind and/or hock. Portion into bowls. Fry sage leaves in a skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds. Drain on paper towel. Garnish soup and serve. Makes about 3 quarts.

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