White Beans

White Beans + Ham Shank=Delicious!

Beans Bowl

A couple months ago, a reader asked if I could post some simple bean recipes. At that time we were in the middle of a scorching heat wave, so I put any bean recipes on the back burner (figuratively of course, if the beans had actually been on the back burner they would be quite scorched by now). But now that we are starting to see the beginning of El Niño, which I believe is Spanish for “crappy weather”, it is now the perfect time to be trotting out some bean recipes. This here one is super simple but quite flavorful thanks to smoked ham shank and a couple common herbs and spices.

White Beans Ingredients

I used a ham shank that weighed in at 1-1/4 pounds. You could substitute ham hocks (is there actually a difference anyway?), or you could use an equivalent size of smoked turkey thigh.

For the beans, I highly recommend soaking in salted water. I know, it has always been a hard and fast rule that you shouldn’t add salt until after cooking or your beans will be tough. Lately, however, I have been seeing a lot of people suggest soaking the beans in salt water (brining). And by George I think they are onto something. Normally I would soak the beans overnight, but I didn’t buy them until the morning that I was going to make this. I used a pound of beans, sorted them and removed the weird ones, rinsed them, covered them with water by about 2 inches above the beans and added 2 tablespoons of salt and stirred it all together. I let them soak for about 5 hours and that was plenty of time. Rinse them again before adding to the dish.Pork Shank Onions

Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker pot, then add a ham shank and some chopped onions. Sauté, turning the ham shank occasionally until the onions are translucent and the shank is browned.

Run 5 cloves of garlic through a press, toss in the pot and sauté for another minute.

Garlic Pressed

Put some paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt (that should be plenty, remember that we already salted the beans) and a little black pepper into the onion mixture and stir for 30 seconds.

Dump in the beans, pour in 6 cups of water, then toss in the thyme and bay leaves.

Bay Leaves

Lock the top on the cooker and bring to high pressure. Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure.

Set the time for 35 minutes.

When the time is up, let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes then do a quick release.

Pork Shank Meat

Uncover and remove the ham shank to a plate and let it cool enough to pull the meat from the bones.

In the meantime, put the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.

When cool enough, pull the meat from the shank and stir into the beans. Continue to simmer for a couple more minutes to thicken slightly.

Beans and Herbs

Remove from heat, and ladle into bowls. Serve with biscuits or corn bread.

I like it with a little hot sauce.

White Beans
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Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 ham shank (approximately 1.25 pounds), you can also use ham hocks or smoked turkey thigh
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 pound great northern beans, sorted, brined and rinsed
  • 1 level teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups water
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat
  2. Add the ham shank and onions to the pot
  3. Sauté, turning the ham shank occasionally, until the onions become translucent and ham shank is browned (about 5 minutes)
  4. Toss in the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  5. Sprinkle in the paprika, salt and and pepper and sauté for 30 seconds or so
  6. Dump in the beans
  7. Add in the water, then toss in the thyme and bay leaves
  8. Lock top on pressure cooker and bring to high pressure
  9. Set time for 35 minutes
  10. When time is up, remove pressure cooker from heat and let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  11. Remove the ham shank to a plate and let it cool a couple minutes
  12. Remove the bay leaf and thyme stems
  13. Put pot over medium high heat for a couple minutes while waiting for the shank to cool
  14. Pull the meat off the bones and stir into the beans
  15. Simmer for just a couple more minutes to let it thicken slightly
  16. Serve in bowls with biscuits or corn bread

 

Pressure Cooker Yellow Split Pea Soup

Soupe Aux Pois Made Easy In The Pressure Cooker

Canadian Yellow Pea Soup1

I grew up not liking split pea soup at all. Now it seems I am making up for lost time. I recently posted a recipe for green split pea soup. That one was a thick, hearty, stand-a-spoon-up-in-it soup.

Shortly after that, during one of my marathon poking-around-the-interwebs sessions, I came across French-Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup.

At first I was intrigued, but a few minutes later I was obsessed. Since my heritage includes French-Canadian, I just had to prepare “the food of my people”. This is more of a medium-density soup. It is definitely not a broth, but it does have diminished spoon-standing capabilities.

Yellow Pea Soup Ingredients

I tried to be fairly true to tradition, but sometimes it’s not quite possible. For instance from what I have seen, this soup is usually made with whole dried peas, or a mixture of whole and split. I probably would have done this if I was able to track down the elusive whole dried yellow peas but I had no luck here in SoCal. Sure, I could have gone the internet route, but I had some good yellow split peas, so why wait for delivery and whatnot?

The recipe is easy, but a little more time consuming than some, just because it requires a simple ham stock to be made first. When I say the stock is simple, I mean simple. Just toss your choice of ham hock, ham shank or ham bone into twelve cups of water, cook at high pressure for 40 minutes and you’re in business.

Yellow Pea Soup Ham Shank

The stock can be made ahead of time, so things will be speedy when you make the actual soup.

After the stock is done cooking, let the meat cool. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard bones and any large chunks of fat that are present. Then, chop up the meat.

Ham Meat Chopped

 

For the soup, get some butter melted in the pressure cooker pot and sauté the onions, carrots and celery until things start to soften a bit and onion is transparent.

Yellow Pea Soup Chopped Veggies

I think this is one of the few recipes where I don’t use at least five cloves of garlic, but it is not exactly a garlic-driven recipe. I think the most important flavor profile in this dish would be the savory. That’s the thing that makes it the most “Canadian-y”. A lot of recipes say that you could substitute thyme, but I would highly recommend tracking down some savory in order to get the full Canuck experience.

Butter Melting

Add in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Now add in the savory and a little salt and pepper. Don’t add too much salt at this point. Depending on the meat that you are using, you may not need a lot, you can add more later if it needs it.

Sauteed Veggies

Dump those peas in there, along with whatever meat you cut off those bones.

Pour in ten cups of the stock (you can add a cup or so less if you like it a little thicker, but I have found that ten cups is just about perfect for this. Sure, I specify twelve cups in the stock recipe because I like to have a little extra, just in case. As in almost every recipe I post, toss in a couple bay leaves.

Put the top on the cooker, turn heat to high and set the timer for eight minutes. Remember, when cooking legumes in the pressure cooker, never fill the pot of the pressure cooker over half full.

Yellow Pea Soup Finished

When the time is up, turn heat off and let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release.

I like to serve it with toasted baguette with bleu cheese (not traditional, but tasty).

Pressure Cooker Yellow Split Pea Soup
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Canadian
Author:
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Serves: 4-5 large servings
French-Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup Adapted for the Pressure Cooker
Ingredients
For The Ham Stock
  • 1.5 -2 pounds ham shank or hocks, or hambone
  • 12 cups water
For The Soup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped small
  • 3-4 small carrots, chopped small
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons savory
  • 1 pound yellow split peas, picked through and rinsed
  • Chopped meat from shank/hock/ham bone
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 cups ham stock
Instructions
Make The Ham Stock
  1. Put The Shank/Hocks/Hambone in the pressure cooker with 12 cups of water
  2. Put lid on pressure cooker
  3. Turn heat to high until high pressure is reached
  4. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure
  5. Set time for 40 minutes
  6. When time is up, let pressure come down naturally for ten minutes then do a quick release
  7. Remove the meat to a plate to let it cool
  8. When meat is cool enough, cut from bone and chop
  9. Stock and meat can be made ahead and saved for a day or two in the refrigerator
Make the soup
  1. Put the butter in the pressure cooker over medium heat
  2. When butter is melted, sauté onions, carrot and celery until onions are translucent
  3. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  4. Add the savory and a little salt and pepper (you can add more salt later if necessary, it may not need much depending on the meat).
  5. Add the peas and meat
  6. Pour in 10 cups of the ham stock (can use a little less if you would like it thicker)
  7. Toss in the bay leaves
  8. Put the cover on the pressure cooker and turn heat to high
  9. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure
  10. Set time for eight minutes
  11. When time is up, remove from heat
  12. Let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  13. Taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed
  14. Serve in bowls with toasted baguette on the side (I like it with bleu cheese)