Tuscan Bean Soup with Spinach
|Dried white kidney beans/Cannellini beans / great northern beans||8 Ounce|
|Water||6 Cup (96 tbs)|
|Crosscut beef shanks||1 Pound (1 1/2 Inches Thick)|
|Freshly ground black pepper||1⁄4 Teaspoon|
|Olive oil||1 Tablespoon|
|Onions||3 Medium, chopped|
|Carrots||3 Medium, chopped|
|Fennel wedges/Chopped celery||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Bottled minced garlic||2 Teaspoon (4 Cloves)|
|Smoked ham hocks||12 Ounce|
|Instant beef bouillon granules||1 Tablespoon|
|Snipped fresh thyme/1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed||2 Teaspoon|
|Snipped fresh rosemary/1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed||2 Teaspoon|
|Canned diced tomatoes||14 1⁄2 Ounce (1 Can, Undrained)|
|Torn spinach leaves||4 Cup (64 tbs) (Fresh Ones)|
1. Rinse beans. In a 4 1/2- or 5-quart Dutch oven, combine beans and 6 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Or place beans in water in Dutch oven. Cover and let soak in a cool place for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain in colander; set aside.
2. Sprinkle beef with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. In a 4 1/2- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook about 5 minutes or until brown, turning once. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add onions, carrots, fennel or celery, and garlic to drippings in Dutch oven. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Return beef to Dutch oven; add drained beans, 6 cups water, ham hocks, bouillon granules, bay leaf, dried thyme (if using), dried rosemary (if using), and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in undrained tomatoes. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes more or until beans and meats are tender.
4. Remove ham hocks and beef let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones. Cut meat into bite-size pieces; return to soup. Discard bones and bay leaf. Skim off fat. Stir in spinach and fresh herbs (if using). Heat through.