Braised White Beans with Smoked Pork
2 cups dry white navy beans 1 small carrot, cut into three pieces 1 rib celery, cut into three pieces 2 springs, parsley 1 large bay leaf 2 springs, thyme 1 small red onion, cut into quarters 2 small smoked pork or ham hocks, about 6 ounces each 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small red onion, thinly sliced 2 gloves garlic, minced 3 cups rich chicken stock or unsalted chicken broth 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme 4 tablespoons, soft unsalted butter Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place beans in a large plastic container and cover with at least 6 inches of cold water. Soak beans overnight.
Drain beans, place in a large saucepan and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Add carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, onion and hocks or bacon to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until beans and meat is tender. Add the salt and stir well. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes to absorb the salt. Drain beans, discard the vegetables and herbs. Shred meat from hocks, discard any skin, bones and gristle. Add meat to beans.
Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté onion until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and stir well. Add the drained beans and pork hocks and stir gently.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until hot. Stir in the thyme and butter. Season with and salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve in shallow warmed soup bowls on top of buttered cornbread. Garnish with freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.