21 minutes ago
Monday, November 8, 2010
I received a SMOKED HAM SHANK as a gift. I know, that's an odd gift, but I like weird things.
It's from a great butcher up in Western NJ, everyone knows this guy, except me.
His name is Rambo. Ok, are you scared yet?
I am not able to find these beautiful smoked ham shanks (not to be confused with ham hocks) in these parts. I guess it's a regional thing.
What was I going to do with this prosciutto looking ham thing?
Now that there is a chill in the air, I am making a big stew/soup with it, of course.
This is very much like pasta fagiole (pasta with bacon and beans), and a little like a French cassoulet minus the duck confit.
I am calling it pork and beans, cause that's what it really is.
You need half a day, preferably on a Sunday, to make this dish, and the house will smell AMAZING. We could even smell the soup outside on the sidewalk!
I also found out that the definition of HAM is the part of the pig from the back hind quarters. Did you know that? I did not.
Ham Shank and Beans:
1.5 lb. smoked ham shank (not a ham hock)
1 lb. dried Northern white or cannellini beans
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme
Heat olive oil in a huge pot or Dutch oven. Saute onions, garlic and carrots until tender, about 6 minutes or so.
Add ham shank, water, stock, bay leaves, and rosemary and bring to a boil. Add the dried beans and turn down to a simmer.
Cover and cook for 2 hours. Test the beans and make sure they are getting tender.
My beans took 3 hours, but some varieties take longer.
After 2 hours, add the can of tomatoes and turn the shank, simmer for another hour.
Remove shank from the pot, and when cool enough to handle, remove skin and shred the meat with 2 forks. It will have fallen off the bone and you'll know it's ready.
Serve up the beans and top with the pork. This makes a large quantity and freezes well.
This was wonderful. Yum.
After I made the soup, I took a ride up to Califon, New Jersey and found this country store.
I bought 4 smoked ham shanks and froze them for the cold winter months ahead.
It's like having money in the bank!