Pork and beans are a match made in heaven. They complement the flavours of one another very well. My love for bean soups stems from my mother’s favourite repertoire and low-appetite remedy, the pork and red kidney bean soup. Her pork and red kidney bean soup was very simple, having only 3 main ingredients. Yet, it was extremely potent in making sure that some of her fussiest kids would eat their vegetables and have a proper meal in the process.
While my mother’s pork and red kidney bean soup is still my all-time favourite comfort food, this version of pork and black bean soup is gaining ground fast. The black dates give the soup a very distinct and pleasant smoky taste. The wolfberries, on the other hand, lend a nice contrasting colour and sweetness to the soup. Traditionally, wolfberries are believed to confer some health-boosting properties to soups, although its medicinal quality is yet to be confirmed through a proper research.
The black dates and wolfberries can be omitted from the soup without affecting the yum factor too much. Like all stews and soups, this pork and black bean soup tastes even better the next day.
Pork and black bean soup
Adapted from a recipe in ‘A Taste of Home’ by Andrew Kow (2009)
300g/10-11 oz dried black beans
8-10 cups water
750 g/1 lb 10 oz pork soup bones (400-500g/1 lb lean pork fillet, diced)
5 black dates
2-3 tbsp Chinese wolfberries (goji berries)
Salt to taste
Soak the dried black beans for at least 4 hours prior to cooking. Drain and rinse the beans.
Bring the water to boil in a large soup pot. Add the beans and reduce heat to medium. Simmer the beans for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how long the beans had been soaked. Skim the scum that forms on the surface.
Rinse the pork soup bones with cold water. Add to the beans. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the black dates. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
Add the wolfberries. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately with steamed rice.