My last post explained why you should love hog jowls, but today I’ve come to the sad realization that hog jowls and lima beans probably don’t top the list of your favorite foods. They should. Your mother would be thrilled if you would finally learn to like lima beans. Even better, it’s been proven that pork fat is good for you, along with beer, whiskey, and popcorn. (Like every male in America, Fred rejoiced when I broke the news. Then he fell asleep.)
In moderate quantities pork fat can, apparently, help improve your good (HDL) cholesterol and lower your bad (LDL). I’m living proof of this; after a particularly egregious season of bacon eating a few years back, my bad cholesterol was so low, and my good cholesterol so high, that my doctor praised my healthy habits and declared me practically immortal.
Health benefits aside, this soup is just plain good. It is hearty without being heavy and has an unexpected sweetness, like that of carmelized onions or sun-dried tomatoes. (Note that unsmoked jowl bacon, not the smoked jowls pictured here, is used in this recipe, which is why I’ve suggested guanciale as a possible substitute.)
Lima Bean and Hog Jowl Soup
4 – 5 oz. hog jowl bacon or guanciale, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large carrots, quartered lengthwise & sliced at 1/4″ intervals, or chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups turkey or other good quality poultry broth
4 cups frozen lima beans
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried herbes de Provence or thyme
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
Fry jowl bacon or guanciale on medium high heat in the bottom of 6 qt. or larger pot until crisp. Turn off heat & spoon out all but 2 tablespoons of fat. (Refrigerate fat for a later use or discard.) Add onion and sautee on medium heat until it is translucent, about 5- 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Add carrots, bay leaf, herbes de Provence or thyme, and salt; stir briefly until coated with fat. Saute an additional 1 or 2 minutes. Add broth and lima beans. Bring to boil on high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook an additional 20 – 25. Taste and correct salt if needed.