Ham shank and bean homestead soup


Many nights on the homestead, our dinner comes entirely out of the garden and freezer.  This year, we were blessed to have added pigs to the homestead, and this has allowed us to eat a home grown meal more often.  Everyone enjoys bacon, ribs and pork chops,  but when you have a hog butchered there are many other cuts that you may not be as familiar with.  One of these cuts is the shank.  Shanks are traditionally smoked and contain meat and a lot of connective tissue, which makes them perfect for a homestead soup.  I will admit that our shanks had found their way to the bottom of the freezer, but after making this soup that will never happen again.


We started the soup in a large cast iron pot by sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil and butter until translucent.  We seasoned with black pepper.  We then added our chicken stock, which is made from our own birds, and water.


We brought this all to a boil then reduced to a simmer for one hour.  After an hour we added several different types of dried beans that we had harvested this past summer.  If you have ever shelled beans then you know we didn’t waste any of these.  We also added our canned  tomatoes, red pepper, and oregano.


We covered and simmered for one more hour.  After an hour we removed the hocks and removed the meat.  We returned the meat to the pot and discarded the bones.  We then simmered for 45 min or until the beans were tender.  The result was an amazing hearty soup that would warm you up even on the coldest day.  A cold Sunday is the perfect time to enjoy this soup, you can take your time and enjoy every spoon full.  Maybe even bake some crusty bread to warm up the house and enjoy with your creation.  When we looked into this bowl of soup we could see all of our hard work, not only cooking it but growing the ingredients. The shanks, the beans, and tomatoes, and even the tiny red pepper and oregano flakes.  This is truly a homestead soup, it not only warmed you up but put a smile on your face, and was a just reward for all the hard work.  There will never be any marching bands to congratulate you for your hard work, but there will be soup.


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