As Bill says, “anything is good with a ham hock.” Including Fassoulatha, or white bean soup. The ham hock is the twist to this Greek bean soup I made this week because it happened again: I had ham hocks in the freezer and used one in Split Pea Soup. But that was plenty of meat so I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the other hock.
Meanwhile, I’ve had this Fassoulatha recipe lying around and was looking for an opportunity to try it. Then it hit me: Why not throw the other ham hock in this soup?
Here’s the recipe I used, from a Middle Eastern cookbook my friend Carolyn loaned me. Of course, I improvised here and there, so this is the way it ended up.
2 cups dried navy, cannellini, or Great Northern beans
8 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
1 T. dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh, chopped)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black ground pepper
1 ham hock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried ground oregano
2 tsp. salt
Wash and sort beans. (I used Great Northern beans.)
Place in stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and leave pot covered until beans become plump, about 2 hours. (Time may vary depending on size of bean.)
Add remaining ingredients except for salt.
Bring to a boil, cover pot and boil gently for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove ham hock and cut meat from bone. Return meat to stock pot. Add salt and simmer, covered, about 30-60 minutes or until beans are tender.
Serve with fresh chopped parsley. Of course, you could keep this a vegetarian dish and leave out the ham hock. I just didn’t want it to go to waste!