Soups · Stews

Pork Shank & Bean Stew and the story behind it…

I’ve heard of themed evenings, dinner parties & dances but I’ve never heard of themed week-ends. According to my daughter this is her new ‘thing’. She’s introduced garden, friendees, duvet-day, music and home maintenance themed week-ends and the list is growing …..52 in fact.

Big mistake,  I asked her what a themed week-end was. 3 hours later we’d finally covered all the week-ends they’ve had thus far.

Here are a few; a garden theme means we (Ian, the boyfriend) work in the garden, shop for garden stuff and eat garden varieties all week-end. The friendees theme; we entertain friends at home or hook up with them at clubs. Duvet day, we stay in bed and …………….actually let’s not go there.

You have to know my daughter to know how hysterical this is. She is a grown women, sharp as a whippet, drop dead gorgeous with a huge vivacious personality. She is not a 6 year old playing mommy & daddy dress up.

To be honest I loved this,  I thought it was such a novel idea and couldn’t wait to tell lovie about our new themed week-end plans. It didn’t go quite as I planned, he gave me that look , you know that look, the one when they think women are crazy and so immature. Anyways,  I decided to ignore him and play themed week-ends without him knowing he was playing along.

Our 1st themed week-end was ‘self service’ week-end. I worked non-stop through the whole week-end so Lovie had to make his own meals, tea and clean up after himself….self service week-end done & dusted.

The 2nd week-end was ‘let’s ignore the world week-end’. After working the previous week-end I needed to recharge my batteries so the deal was no friends over, no accepting invites out, total vegetation on the couch a requirement and NO phones. Lovie loved this one, especially the no phones one. He still had no idea he was playing along.

3rd week-end; Bathroom make-over. We went shopping for bathroom makeover stuff, then Lovie spent the whole week-end drilling, fixing & hanging while I sat in the bath and watched. We ended the week-end with a lovely candle-lit bath in our new made-over bathroom…..still clue-less.

4th week-end. The weather was miserable with loads of rain and minus 40 temps (slight exaggeration) so the perfect comfort food week-end. I planned to make apple struedel, lamb shanks with mash and a rich decadent chocolate cake. I did neither. Instead I made pancakes and a pork shank & bean stew/soup. Lovie was in his element, pancakes are his favourite and the pork stew was out of this world.

So with 4 themed week-ends out of the way and another 48 to go, I have to admit it’s no fun playing by myself and sadly have put an end to them…..bet you glad to hear that.

So because you’ve come this far & put up with my ramblings I’ve decided to reward you,  with my pork & bean stew/soup recipe. I’m not too sure what to call it, I love eating it as a soup with crusty bread and Lovie loves it with mash.

I cheated and used my electric pressure cooker to cook the beans & pork shank, but a stove top cook works just as well. Don’t forget you need an ‘overnight’ to soak the beans. The pork shank and the beans can also be prepared the day before.

Will there be a few of you brave enough to play ‘theme week-ends’? Let me know.

Pork Shank & Bean Soup/Stew (using a pressure cooker) – recipe below for stove top.

20160911_121508586_iosIngredients

  • Smoked pork shank (medium/large)
  • 250ml dried sugar beans – cover with water & soak overnight.
  • 1x onion, chopped
  • 3x cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1x carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled & quartered (ignore if serving with mash)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried is ok)
  • 15ml paprika
  • 15ml garam masala 
  • 1x chicken stock cube 
  • Salt & coarse black pepper. 
  • Crusty bread for serving or a portion of mash

20160911_060748022_ios

Method:

  • Rinse the pork shank with cold water.
  • Add the pork shank & 500ml water to the electric pressure cooker. Set the timer for 60 min and walk away.
  • After 60 min the pork shank should be almost falling apart. If not, set timer for a further 15 min.
  • Gently remove the pork shank & the liquid from the cooker and reserve the liquid.
  • Drain the water from the soaking beans, add to the cooker with 500ml water. Set the timer for 40 min.(if the beans aren’t totally cooked through not to worry as they will cook further later) 
  • While the beans are cooking, gently break up the pork & remove the bone (see pic). 20160911_084120523_ios
  • Once the beans are cooked, drain and set aside.
  • Using the same cooker , fry your onions, garlic and carrot mix until just soft.
  • Add the paprika, bay leaves and garam masala and gently fry for a few minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, pork and cooked beans. 
  • Add a little of the reserved pork shank liquid, just enough to cover every thing. I used roughly 400ml. More liquid, you get soup, less liquid, you get stew.
  • Toss in the chicken stock cube, check your seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Place the lid back on and set the timer for 15-20 min.
  • Your soup/stew is ready when the potatoes & beans are cooked through.
  • Serve with mash or crusty bread.

Serves 4-6.

Pork Shank & Bean Soup/Stew (stove top)

Ingredients

  • Smoked pork shank (medium/large)
  • 250ml dried sugar beans – cover with water & soak overnight.
  • 1x onion, chopped
  • 3x cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1x carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled & quartered (ignore if serving with mash)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried is ok)
  • 15ml paprika
  • 15ml garam masala 
  • 1x chicken stock cube 
  • Salt & coarse black pepper. 
  • Crusty bread for serving or a portion of mash

Method:

  • Rinse the pork shank with cold water.
  • Add the pork shank & just enough liquid to cover it. The more liquid you add the less concentrated your stock will be. To enhance the flavour throw in a whole carrot & whole onion. (not listed in the ingredient list) 
  • Bring the water to the boil, turn down the heat, cover with a lid and gently simmer for 2-3 hours. The shank is ready when the meat begins to fall away from the bone. Keep and eye on it, don’t let the liquid boil away.
  • While the shank is cooking, drain & cook your beans by adding them to a pot, covering them with water, bringing it to the boil and letting them simmer for an hour or so. They are ready when just cooked as they will cook further later.
  • Back to the shank. When cooked, gently remove the pork shank & the liquid from the pot and reserve the liquid. Gently remove the meat from the bone (see pic above)
  • Once the beans are cooked, drain and set aside. You don’t have to reserve the liquid.
  • In a large pot add a little oil and fry your onions, garlic and carrot mix until just soft.
  • Add the paprika, bay leaves and garam masala and gently fry for a few minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, cooked pork and cooked beans. 
  • Add a little of the reserved pork shank liquid, just enough to cover every thing. I used roughly 400ml. More liquid, you get soup, less liquid, you get stew.
  • Bring to the boil. 
  • Toss in the chicken stock cube, check your seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Turn the heat down, place the lid back on and  simmer until the potatoes & beans are cooked through, roughly 30min..
  • Serve with mash or crusty bread.

Serves 4-6.

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