I am in love with this soup! Layers of porky flavor make it a delight to devour. I originally intended to make a bacon and bak choi soup, but instead I used what was in My freezer. Thus stumbling upon this lovely combination. Baby lima beans add a great texture and are perfect for reducing the spicy impact on Your taste buds. Obviously, bacon adds to almost any meal, but by cooking it in different ways, bacon can take things to the next level. I have been playing with different methods of cooking it for quite some time. Treating a pack of standard, sliced bacon as a single piece of meat is the key to this dish.
Soup takes time to make. It is very easy, since You can ignore it most of the time, but it’s a long process. 3 hours of simmering on the stove seems to be the minimum for getting all of the flavor and nutrients out of the ingredients. Simmering for 4 to 6 hours before reducing has yielded the best soup stock for Me. Be sure not to reduce too far, the general rule is that You want to cook it down by half. You don’t want to end up with soup concentrate. Making this soup is a two part recipe. First, one must make the stock that provides the base flavors. Then, You fry Your bacon and finish the soup with spices. I tend to make stock half, to three quarters of a gallon at a time, since the largest pot in My kitchen is 8 quarts. Storing any that is not being used right away in the freezer for later. It will last about a month in the freezer, so You can save time and make the stock well before the day You intend actually to serve the soup.
Supplies Needed: TWO 8 quart stock pots(the second is for straining), a decent sized strainer and a skillet for frying.
~For the Stock~
2lbs Ham Shanks, or the bone of a mostly eaten ham
3 large Carrots, cut in half, or thirds
2 large Onions, halved
half a bushel of Celery
half a bulb of Garlic
2 Bay Leaves
1.5 to 2 gallons of Water(as much as can be fit into the pot with the other ingredients)
Put all the above ingredients in a stock pot, adding as much water as possible(1.5 to 2 inches from the top of the pot). You don’t want to boil it, set the burner to whatever setting You need to keep it simmering. Continue simmering for 4 or more hours. Then, strain the ingredients from the liquid, pressing as much of the broth out of them as possible. Discard the solids(eat the meat, if there is any) and return the liquid to the stove. Now You want to bring it to a boil and continue until the soup has been reduced to about half of the post-straining quantity. You don’t want a full rolling boil, with a foamy top. A ‘low boiling’ is ideal, constant large bubbling is what You want to see. Once reduced, let cool and place in the fridge over night. When it’s nice and cold, remove the fat that has solidified on the top. Now proceed to the next part of the recipe, or put it in containers and freeze.
~Finishing the Soup~
1 tbsp Cajun Spice blend
A 1.5 to 2 inch wide slice of the Bacon slab and half a cup or more of Baby Lima Beans per person
1 tsp freshly ground Peppercorns(multi-color medley is best for this)
Salt to taste
Over medium-low, or even low heat, start frying the bacon, spreading the pepper evenly on the top and bottom. It is best to slow cook, flipping every 5 to 10 minutes. You want to keep the temperature low, so You don’t burn the outsides before the center has been cooked. This should take 45 minutes to an hour. You may also have a hard time keeping the bacon from splitting apart, I suggest using a tongs for flipping, so You can hold each piece together as You maneuver them around. Once the bacon is ALMOST cooked through, heat Your soup stock on high. Once the soup starts to boil, add the baby lima beans, cajun spice and salt and reduce to medium heat, stirring occasionally. At the same time, turn the burner for the bacon to medium-high and fry until the outer edges are nice and crispy(burnt is ok too), then remove from the pan, placing on a towel to pull out the excess grease. Make sure the beans are cooked to Your liking and turn off the burner. Ladle the soup and beans into bowls and place a chunk of bacon on top. Serve hot!
I have only served this when also making other dishes. I’ve never tried it as a stand alone meal, it’s a great fit for multi-course dinners.
Cooking sliced bacon in this manor provides a unique texture, similar to tender un-sliced meat. Half pound slabs cook up quite well, but are hard to slice afterwords without breaking it all apart. I prefer Corn King brand bacon. You may laugh, or turn Your nose to the sky, but the brine and smoking process they use produces a superior tasting grease. I use bacon grease instead of cooking oil in most of My cooking, so such things matter to Me. Yes, I am telling You that a mass produced product of Iowan factory-made bacon is better than bacon from a quality butcher shop!
Baby lima beans are really tender inside. If You are substituting regular lima beans, You will want to boil/steam them with water and add to the soup when plating. Otherwise they will be tough and meaty in texture.
This soup is very barbecue friendly. I saved 15 bones from pork spare ribs that I had smoked, added them, burnt edges, sauce and all, instead of the ham. It was delicious! I was unsure about how the charred ends and the messy, sweet remnants of bbq sauce would affect the flavor, but it came out really good. The only burnt parts were maybe half an inch at the tip of each bone. The soup lacked the hammy flavor and aroma, but was instead smelling like a barbequed bowl of goodness. I admit to also using one head of bak choi in place of the carrots that time too. The spice blend really helps this soup fit in to a barbecue menu as well. The spiciness just invites one to eat more sweet, savory, saucy ribs.
I have also found the broth, which is the soup after straining, but before reducing, is very good for sauces. 1 cup of broth, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp minced fresh ginger, some garlic and a splash of chili powder made for a delicious thick sauced stir-fry.
June 5, 2014 | Categories: Pork, Recipes, Soup | Tags: andor, andorius, aroma, baby, bacon, barbecue friendly, barbeque friendly, basic, bay, bay leaf, bbq friendly, bean, beans, blend, boil, boiled, boiling, bone, bones, bowl, bowls, broth, brown, bulb, cajun, carrot, carrots, celery, chill, chunk, clove, cloves, cook, cooking, cool, course, crispy, crunchy, delicious, dinner, easy, eat, eating, fat, flavor, flavors, fried, fry, frying, garlic, goes with barbeque, goes with bbq, good, good with barbecue, good with bbq, gooey, great, ham, heat, hot, how to, ideal, ingredient, ingredients, leaf, leaves, lima, lunch, meal, meaty, mix, nice, onion, onions, original, pan, pepper, peppercorns, peppered, peppery, photo, photos, picture, pictures, pleasant, pork, porky, pot, pots, prep, preparation, recipe, recipes, reduce, reduced, reduction, salt, salty, savor, savory, separate, shanks, simmer, simmering, simple, slow, smoked, soft, soup, soups, soupstock, spice, spices, spicy, starter, stock, stove, strain, strained, supper, swine, tasty, tender, texture, water, winner, yummy | Leave a comment
Last fall, I headed up to northern Wisconsin with My brother and some friends. During that trip, two of the bunch proposed a monthly cook-off. The original theme was simply ‘make Your s*** fancy.’ What can I say, it was a weekend of drinking, shooting and dirt bikes. The feast idea changed slightly after that and starting this past January, Fancy Feast had begun. Instead of making it a competition, it is a slightly less intense meal making endeavor. Four courses minimum, guests bring a bottle of decent booze as tribute, or declare themselves the next host/cook for the feast.
First up was My friend Keith, who made some beet and cheese appetizers that were quite good. Followed by a lobster and shrimp torta with lima beans, avacodo topped with seasoned cream cheese and an encrusted herby salmon bake. Then, He banged out a lovely candied bacon, puffed cream and brownie desert.
February went to My brother, Chris. Churning out seven dishes and various drinks. I did however neglect to catch a picture of the fresh pumpkin bread desert. Pictured are His mushroom soup, with leeks. Egg cooked in swirling water and hash, a topper variety plate, cold soba and soy sauce, what I think was a chorizo dish and meatballs cooked forever in a pho soup stock.
I called March’s meal. My theme was simply to do something different. So, no stir-fry. No grill, or smoker. No cajun spices, chili blends, sherry, or even soy sauce. I struggled a bit, making multi-course meals that come round after round doesn’t mesh particularly well with My laid back, ‘just throw some stuff together and hope it’s good’ cooking tendencies. I produced the minimum of four dishes. Bacon and baby lima bean soup, spicy sweet potato mash with roasted brocolli and pistachios on toast, fruit stuffed pork tenderloin roll and finished with citrus gratin. The desert was kind of odd honestly, but it had much potential to be delicious. Something to ponder on how to go about improving.
March 24, 2014 | Categories: Photography, Random Thoughts | Tags: 2014, acacado, apple, apricot, baby lima, bacon, ball, baste, bean, beans, beet, beets, breaded, brine, brined, brocolli, broiled, brouchetta, brownie, brownies, browny, candied, candy bacon, cheese, chocolate, chorizo, Citrus, cocoa, cook, cooked, cooking, courses, cranberries, cream, creamcheese, crust, desert, eggs, endeavor, event, fancy, fancyfeast, feast, ff, flowers, food, friends, fruit, fun, glaze, good times, grapfruit, great, hash, herbs, herby, home, icametogetdown, ideas, japanese, leek, lima, lobster, mandarin, marinated, marmalade, mash, mashed, meal, meal idea, meat, meatball, midwest, mushroom, noodles, onion, onions, orange, oranges, pastry, pho, pistachio, place, pork, porky, port, potato, preserves, puff, raisins, roast, roasted, roll, rolled, ruby red, salmon, sauce, setting, shrimp, soba, soupsweet, soy, spicy, spinach, stackers, starter, swett potato, swirl, table, tangarine, tapas, tappas, tmfopposition, toast, toppas, topped, toppers, tort, torta, tulips, white, wine, yogurt, yummy | Leave a comment