Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rustic Pork and Bean Soup

As of Friday afternoon, I'm on vacation until January. Sometimes I think the best part about teaching is the schedule. You know, right after all that crap about touching kids' lives, yada yada.

Now, with two full weeks of school, you'd think I'd have plenty of time to cook and make awesome, gourmet meals all the time. No, I will probably spend most of it playing Civilization IV in my jammies and not showering. So with that incredibly attractive image in your mind, you will understand why I decided to make a big pot of soup tonight. We'll be eating this for a couple of days, saving me any effort greater than microwaving leftovers.

This is one of my "Hey, what do I have in my house that I can make into dinner?" soups. The only thing I actually bought to go in it was a can of green chiles.

1 1/2 pounds of dry beans. I had half a pound of navy beans and a pound of pinto beans. I had originally bought them to make freezer beans with, but never got around to it.
1 can green chiles
Some leftover pork bones I'd been saving in the freezer
4 country style pork ribs. These are really pieces of pork shoulder, cut into strips. They are great for braising.
2 onions, quartered
Cumin to taste
Salt to taste

I combined all these in my crockpot, with enough water to cover, until the meat was fork tender and shredded easily. If I had to do it over again, I'd sear the meat before putting it in the pot to add more flavor. I started with frozen meat, so that wasn't an option. I'd also add more aromatics, like garlic and celery, and perhaps some carrots for a different texture and color. It definitely could use more chiles and cumin. I was looking for something similar to white bean chili, but I think I missed something flavorwise. Don't get me wrong, this was pretty good and we'll definitely enjoy the leftovers this week, especially since I made some rosemary-onion focaccia to go with it. It just needed more to it, especially after how great and full of flavor the potato and lentil soups were earlier.

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