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White Beans with Smoked Ham Shank


White Beans with Smoked Ham Shank
Jonathan Lovekin/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Smoked pork ham shanks makes such a great broth with which to cook the beans in this down home classic. After you use the ham shank to flavor the beans, you serve the smoky meat on top for a deeply satisfying meal.

Makes 8 Portions White Beans with Smoked Ham Shank

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 smoked pork ham shank or ham hocks (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound dried cannellini or white kidney beans
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, or sprig of fresh
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh or canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Place a Dutch oven, or other heavy kettle with a lid, over medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic in the butter until translucent. Add the ham shank, broth, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, reduce to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Uncover and add the beans, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. More liquid can be added at any time in the recipe if the beans soak up all the existing liquid as they cook.

Uncover and taste for salt. The ham may have been enough, but if not, add and adjust. Add the tomato, cover and simmer for another 45 minutes, or until the beans are tender and creamy (time will vary depending on the bean you use). Remove the ham shank to a cutting board, slice off chucks of meat from the bone, and serve on the hot beans in a large bowl. Top with fresh parsley.
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