Smoked Pork Shank & Beans

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!


What a great gift Stacey. I would be thrilled and it doesn't sound weird to me.

Rambo sounds like the kind of butcher we would like to get to know. His store sign reminds of me a little country butcher on the outskirts of Houston that we used to like to visit for smoked bacon so many years ago.

Funny isn't it how so many good memories are associated with food.
Anonymous said…
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The JR said…
Upscale pork n' beans!
Anonymous said…
I've known about this butcher for years. It's a great little country store, haven't visited in yrs.

John from Jersey
Gotta love Rambo. Those shanks look beautiful. Great dish, particularly for this time of year!
Claudia said…
Rambo the butcher makes me smile. I feel like getting my meat from Otis Family Farm pales in comparison. This is a celebratory gift - a gift of Sunday dinner. And when "courting," my husband brought me pickled fish - so yay to food gifts and their evolution.
amycaseycooks said…
A perfect stew for the cold winter months ahead. I am going to have to take a ride to Rambo's for myself.
My friends always give me their ham bones after Easter, next time I'll make your gourmet pork and beans!
Kadensgran said…
Stacey, this cut is called cottage ham in Cincinnati, Ohio (where I am from). Since moving to Michigan 17 years ago I have not been able to find it anywhere. We always cooked it with green beans and it was a wonderful dish. I now settle for cooking the green beans and potatoes with a Honey Baked ham bone which always has lots of wonderful meat left. Delicious but just not the same. I would love to try it as you suggest but alas, not to be found. I think I will try your recipe with a honey baked ham bone. Again, won't be as good as the smoked shank but I bet it will be very tasty. Thanks for your wonderful recipes and ideas. I really enjoy your blog.
Anonymous said…
Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!
Anonymous said…
OH, I bike up in Califon often. I know Rambos. Bought a cold drink once, so now I know to get some meat there! Thanks!
GP said…
I know this is several years old at this point, but I just wanted to note a couple of things in case anyone stumbles upon this recipe.

1) I felt it was much better BEFORE I added the tomatoes. The can of tomatoes made a much bigger impact than I expected and I really didn't like it. Just a note to anyone who doesn't care for tomatoes too much.

2) The beans really should be soaked overnight instead of thrown into a pot dry, that leaves little hard spots in the beans. I pre-soaked mine, but you MUST cut the recipe down to 2 hours instead of 3 because the beans will turn to mush, and you also need to compensate water amount as well. I went to 2 cups stock and 2 cups water with soaked beans. I boiled the bone ahead for about 30 minutes before adding the soaked beans and the rest of the ingredients.

Thanks for the recipe it's a great idea!
Unknown said…
I think it cooks up fabulous just the way out is, plus easy! For me, this dish is also nostalgia, because it comes out as a gourmet version of Campbell's bean with bacon soup, comfort food of my childhood! Thank you!