Green Bean Soup

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While I wouldn’t say a mixed vegetable soup is a heritage recipe, this particular version using fresh summer savory is the Mennonite traditional green bean soup my mother always made with fresh-from-our-garden green beans, potatoes and carrots.  I wish I knew the origins of this recipe as it uses such an unusual herb to flavour it, but I need to record it for my family, so here you go! Summer savory is a woody annual herb with a peppery bite to it and we bring fresh summer savory into the market on my request so I can make this family favourite.  I’ll usually purchase a few extra packages, tie them with butcher twine and freeze them to have on hand for making this soup year round. I’ve also included Instant Pot instructions, and I have discovered that an Instant Pot is a game changer for soup stock. I’ve enjoyed experimenting with an Instant Pot but my favorite use is for the clear and flavourful stock it makes as well as how quickly and consistently it cooks.  Many a time I’ve been making soup stock on my stove, walked away and returned to find it either bubbling furiously or not cooking at all! Added bonus is that it doesn’t heat up your kitchen on a hot summer’s day.  

Ingredients

1 Lepp’s smoked Pork Hock 

8 cups water 

2 bay leaves

3 medium large potatoes, diced (or 6-8 buttery Warba new potatoes)  

3 carrots, chopped

6 cups fresh green beans, stems removed and cut into 2 inch pieces (I never bother cutting off the tapered tail end and a kitchen scissor is best for this)

1 large onion, diced

1 bundle fresh summer savory, tied with butcher’s twine

1 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

¼ cup whipping cream

Method

In a large stock pot, place ham hock, water and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 2 hours. Remove ham hock from stock, allow to cool enough to handle.  Meanwhile, chop vegetables and after you’ve taken out ham hock, add vegetables, salt, pepper and fresh summer savory to broth and return to a simmer.  Cook for another 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Once ham hock has cooled enough to handle, pull it apart, separate the meat from the fat and bone and chop meat into bite-sized pieces.  Return meat to the soup, add ¼ cup whipping cream and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Give the big bone to a lucky dog! Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning. Remove and discard bundle of summer savory before serving.  

Instant Pot

Place ham hock and water into instant pot.  Set for pressure cook, 45 minutes. Once the cook time is over, let the pressure release naturally for 8-10 minutes before opening the valve and removing the lid (this is to prevent the splatter that can come when pressure cooking soup).  Remove ham hock from water, add remaining ingredients except whipping cream to broth and close lid.  Set pressure cooker time for 12 minutes. After cooking, and pressure has been safely released, open lid and add diced meat and whipping cream.  Stir to combine. Remove the bundle of summer savory before serving. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.