Grandma's Pork and Bean Soup Gets a Makeover

January 6, 2016
A leaner version of this hearty winter meal, guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy without weighing you down.
By 
Dan Whalen
Grandma's Pork and Bean Soup Gets a Makeover | WGBH | Craving Boston

It’s always a tug-of-war this time of year between healthy post-holiday eating and satisfying comfort-food cravings. Like everything in life, it's important to strike a balance. If you commit to only salads and yogurt, in a week you might end up behind the garage binging on leftover christmas cookies. I love this soup because it walks the fine line of feeling somewhat indulgent, while still being healthy and satisfying.

Olive oil, tomatoes, pork and beans in soup always hit that comfort button for me. The combo reminds me of the kind of food my grandmother made when I was a kid; but here we use a lean, but flavorful pork tenderloin instead of the fatty sausages she would would sneak into the pot. Stir in a ton of kale, and you have a soup that will fill you up, but keep you on track with any 2016 healthy-eating goals. 

Grandma's Pork and Bean Soup Gets a Makeover | WGBH | Craving Boston 

Ingredients 
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound Pork Tenderloin
1 onion (diced)
1 carrot (diced)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme (fresh or dried)
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 bunch kale (removed from stalks and roughly torn)
14 ounces canned cannellini beans (strained and rinsed)
  salt and pepper to taste
  Italian bread and Parmesan cheese for serving
Directions 
  1. Put a heavy-bottomed stock pot or dutch oven over high heat and add in the olive oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add to the heated pot. Cook about 8 minutes to brown on all sides. Remove from the pan into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the onion and carrot to the pot and cook about 8 minutes to soften and just lightly brown, reducing heat to medium-high if the veggies threaten to burn.
  3. Add the garlic to the pot and cook 3 minutes. Add in the rosemary and thyme and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock to the pot, along with the browned pork and any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2.5 hours.
  5. Remove the pork from the pot and shred it on a plate or in a bowl. I find this easiest to do by mashing it in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Return this to the pot.
  6. Add the kale and beans to the pot. Return to a simmer and let cook 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and serve with shaved parmesan cheese and toasted Italian bread.