I’ve been experimenting with several varieties of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo (based in Napa) and there’s one that has really impressed me, the Hutterite Soup Bean, which you can read about in more detail here.
Last night, as the lovely rain continued, I finished the last of the soup I’d made on Monday and was inspired by a very large–2 1/2 pounds–smoked ham hock from Victorian Farmstead to pull out my slow cooker. Then I thought of the beans. I put them in a soup pot, added some water, boiled them for 10 minutes, covered the pan and let them soak for an hour. By then, it was just about time for bed.
I rinsed the soaked beans, put them in the slow cooker along with a yellow onion cut in chunks, a few garlic cloves, a bay leaf, some salt and white pepper and that enormous ham hock. I added a quart of pork stock I happened to have in the freezer and another quart and a half or so of water, set the slow cooker on low for 6 hours and went to bed.
When I got up, long before sunrise, the slow cooker had shifted from low to warm and the soup looked just perfect. The meat had fallen off the bone and was easy to break up with a big spoon and the beans had held their shape I took a taste: ahhhh, it was absolutely delicious, the beans themselves like little velvet nuggets, rich and voluptuous.
Some beans disintegrate when left in a slow cooker over night but these Hutterite beans held up perfectly, even after I transferred the soup to containers. I ended up with nearly four quarts. Let the rains continue.
For more soup recipes, check out these posts: