Tuscan White Bean Stew
by Eric Hwang
I must have perused several cookbooks before I decided that I just had to come up with my own version of a ham and bean soup that had everything in it that I felt was needed. After I finished making it, I decided it was a little too thick and hearty to be just a soup. So it became a stew. To soften the skins of the beans, I soak them overnight in salted water. The longer they soak, the quicker the beans will cook.
|1 lb. (about 2 cups) cannellini beans
4 cups water
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
ham hock or shank with 1/2 to 1 lb meat attached
1 medium onion diced
1 celery rib sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 carrot sliced 1/4 inch thick
|6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium russet potatoes, boiled and mashed (about 2-1/2 cups)
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
salt and ground black pepper
Soak the beans overnight in 2 Tbs. salt dissolved in 4 quarts cold water. Drain the beans, discarding the liquid and rinsing well.
Add beans, water, broth, bay leaves, garlic, ham hock and all vegetables except carrots to a 6 quart stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat uncovered for 45 minutes until beans are almost tender but still firm inside. Skim any accumulated fat from the surface. Remove ham bone and meat from pot and allow to cool. While meat is cooling, stir in the mashed potatoes, tomato sauce and carrots. Remove the meat from the bone, trim off any fat, dice the ham into 1/2 inch cubes and return to pot. Simmer on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in italian seasoning. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with a loaf of rustic bread and a nice Chianti.