1 1/2 cups dried Great Northern or other small white beans
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
6 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped leek bottoms
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
How to Make It
To prepare ham hocks, stud onion with cloves. Place onion, water, and next 8 ingredients (water through thyme sprig) in a stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 3 hours. Remove hocks from stock. Strain stock through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Cool stock to room temperature. Cover and chill hocks and stock separately 8 hours or overnight. Remove meat from bones; finely chop. Discard bones, skin, and fat. Skim solidified fat from surface of stock; discard fat. Reserve 4 cups stock.
To prepare beans, sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans. Cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain.
Combine beans and reserved stock in a Dutch oven. Add chopped thyme, fennel seeds, marjoram, and tomato; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beans are tender.
While beans simmer, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek bottoms, chopped onion, 1 cup carrot, 1/2 cup celery, and 2 garlic cloves; cover. Cook 10 minutes; stir occasionally. Add vegetable mixture, ham, ground pepper, and salt to bean mixture.
To prepare garnish, combine parsley, basil, and green onions; sprinkle over bean mixture.
Note that the beans should be moist, but not soupy.
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I used shanks at the butchers direction. I followed the directions and found this recipe to be too salty. I would not add any salt at all. Also I found that I ended up with 1/2 bag of northern beans, 1 leek bottom, and cups of stock left over. So I would double the vegetables and not the meat in order to cut down the saltiness and use up all the ingredients. I did like the recipe though.
Labor intensive, but delicious. Needed a litlle smoked paprika to pop the flavor, I used the leftover christmas ham bone. I also put the carrots and celery in with the beans, and simmered them for the hour, and then just added the leeks to the beans and let them soften, I skipped the saute of onion, garlic and leeks, because it was too late, and I was tired. This dish was still amazing. Served it with salad for a tasty meal.
I've made a similar recipe over the years and found a few additional spices, called for in this one, added a nice touch.
It is lengthy to prepare and one must have the patience for it.
Served with a "Bisquick" type warm biscuit with butter, this dish is phenomenal!
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