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Pork-free bean soup!

Although we are not strictly kosher, we do not eat pork or shellfish. We love soups! So very many soup recipes, especially those for bean soup which we really enjoy, call for bacon, ham hocks, pancetta, sausages, etc. What do most kosher CH's do? Do you simply omit the offending product, or are there reasonable substitutes for these smoked pork products?

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  1. I've used smoked turkey broth and/or meat to effectively flavor bean recipes. (Greenberg smoked turkeys from here in TX, specifically - they use conventional turkeys, not kosher.)

    Other options: Liquid Smoke seasoning - use very sparingly at first until familiar; smoked salt - sub for regular salt.

    1. You could try Jack's gourmet sausages

      1. smoked turkey, widely available as a drumstick.

        I make excellent versions of the classics (Congressional Bean Soup, Split Pea) by simply substituting a smoked turkey leg.

        I also agree with the Duchess, you can also with bones and or leftover meat and drip in a little liquid smoke.

        There is also a world of wonderful vegan bean soups, not to mention uses of bone and poultry and meat that are not smoked ham (Harira - and a whole world of meaty Middle Eastern soups)

        1. I like to use a nice piece of pastrami, but remember to cutdown on your spices as the outside of the pastrami is coated in pepper and pickling spices. Sometimes, I'll wrap the pastrami in cheesecloth to avoid the gritty spices ending up in the soup.

          1. Liquid smoke and a little whatever fat the recipe calls for, usually olive oil.

            8 Replies
            1. re: CloggieGirl

              Thyme helps to create a smokiness if you want to stay vegetarian. Smoked turkey thigh is great though it's much harder to find.

              1. re: DeisCane

                I use thyme in my split pea soup.

                Fr most other soups I keep them vegetarian also. Trader Joes has a smoked salt in a grinder that's excellent.

                1. re: cheesecake17

                  That smoked salt in the grinder is, indeed, excellent, but I have been looking to get another one now that I'm almost done with the one I have. I have been looking in every TJs I find myself in, to no avail. Have you seen the smoked salt recently? If so, I will ask in my local store if they can get it in again, but I have a feeling that it's yet another thing TJs has discontinued.

                  1. re: queenscook

                    It might be discontinued. Haven't bought it in a while. I want to say I saw it at Costco, but not sure.

                    A friend said she bought "African smoke seasoning" in a grinder at trader joes

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      Yes, they have that, but it's very different. If I recall correctly, that has hot pepper in it.

                      Thanks anyway.

                      1. re: queenscook

                        Not sure, never tried it. I think I saw some type of smoke salt in one of the kosher stores in Brooklyn

                        1. re: queenscook

                          I went today. The South African smoke seasoning has salt, paprika, garlic...no hot pepper.

                          They also have pink Himalayan sea salt

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            OK, but the paprika and garlic make it unusable for what I usually use it for. Thanks for checking, though.

              2. Smoked sea salt added to whatever fat is in the soup, nicely mimics the taste of bacon and/or ham.

                1. Goya ham flavoring is pretty good.
                  Apparently it has no pork products in it:
                  Ingredients: salt, monosodium glutamate, artificial ham flavor, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, silica (anti-caking agent).

                    1. Not trying to be kosher but trying to make something delicious, I've very successfully made beans and also kale soup with Aidelle's Habanero Sausage: http://www.aidells.com/product/24 Made with chicken. Sold at Costco.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rccola

                        Unfortunately, all of Aidell's sausages use pork casings.

                        1. re: josephnl

                          I just found out that they do not use it on the minis: http://www.aidells.com/product/100 ; http://www.aidells.com/faqs

                          Aidells sausages are all natural. We use pork casings for our dinner links and sheep casings for our breakfast links. There are no casings on Aidells Mini Sausages or Meatballs.

                          I'd use the Andouille

                      2. When I get a craving for split pea or Navy bean soup,usually do NOT have a nice ham bone to start with. Smoked turkey legs/wings give that nice "hammy" flavor without the actual OINK!

                        1. As others have said smoked turkey works well - I use Beef Fry in place of bacon particullarly if you a kosher butcher local who cures their own (chicago we have Romanians)

                          Other options there are number of very soy/seitan based sauasage products like form Upton naturals - http://www.uptonsnaturals.com/

                          1. I make a lot of beans. Lots of beans. All different kinds of beans. Ones that are not in a typical grocery store. I love beans.

                            As such, your question is somewhat incomplete. What do you want to accomplish with the smoked pork product? Typically this adds smoke flavor, pork flavor, richness from the fat, and mouthfeel depending on the product. What is important to you? What type of bean are you using? Delicate beans, IMHO, benefit from delicate broths, whereas big hearty beans can take a big hearty broth.

                            When I make bean soups, I prefer to think of the beans as flavoring the soup. So I think of what I want in the soup first, and then choose a bean to complement. The beans themselves and their "pot liquor" add to the soup.

                            To give you an example, I recently made a pinto-like bean soup using a variation of this recipe for stock:


                            It is an intense chicken stock. I guarantee you that the result is far better than one that just randomly throws a few slices of bacon into the beanpot!

                            If I was doing some sort of flageolet bean or something, I'd probably choose a less aggressive broth. I don't think I'd want the richness from the fat or the heavy mouthfeel. Although, throwing in a Parmesan rind and some olive oil can make a pretty intense broth for delicate beans! Pair that with some pasta...

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: ttochow

                              ttochow...you are far more ambitious, and likely a more talented chef than I am...sigh! Unfortunately, I never seem to have the time or energy to make a stock from scratch, but I often doctor up good store bought stock with herbs, a bouquet garni, wine, etc. Also, although I occasionally put together a soup from my head...starting with a mirepoix, some liquid, seasonings, beans, vegetables, etc....more often I use a recipe from a book. Recently, I've gotten into several soup/bean packaged mixes that I buy from Soups Online. The reason for this post is that many of the recipes from books, or the packaged mixes call for smoked port products. I've now received several good ideas from this thread. Smoked turkey, smoked sea salt, and chicken or turkey andouille sausage (if I can find it with non-pork casing), all sound like good options.

                              1. re: josephnl

                                Neshama Sausages makes a kosher Andouille sausage from a chicken/turkey blend: http://www.neshama.us/neshama_205_smo...

                                1. re: GilaB

                                  I love their "Divine Link" theme!

                                  1. re: GilaB

                                    Neshama sausages are good and pretty widely distributed; I've found them at Whole Foods in very non-Jewish parts of the country.

                                    1. re: AdinaA

                                      They're pretty good, for the most part, and have some textural variety (unlike Jack's).

                                  2. re: josephnl

                                    I see. It seems, then, that the most important aspect for you that the pork provides is smokiness. Based on my own preferences, I have a couple of suggestions. First, I'd never cook dried beans (we are discussing dried beans I hope!) with any type of sausage. To me, the beans would wind up greasy and the sausage would wind up tasteless, bland, and mushy since the spicing would leak out. What I would do is brown some onions in vegetable oil, then follow the recipe but omit the pork product. This gives some of the richness to the beans.

                                    The, depending on the soup, I'd probably cut my sausage into rounds (crosswise) and brown them in a pan until nearly completely cooked, if not already. After the beans are cooked, I'd put the beans and the sausage together for maybe 10 minutes or so while I set the table, etc., for the flavors to meld. That way the sausage spices and fat stay in the sausage, the smoke flavor is more pronounced, and there is he added flavor of browned instead of boiled sausage.

                                    I have no special talents. What I have is more time than most, and a special love of beans. It would not be unusual for me to spend all day making a pot of beans or two days for a soup with them. And I do not use a slow cooker.

                                    1. re: ttochow

                                      If you love beans, I hope you are familiar with Rancho Gordo. I'm sure you are, but if not google them. They are an outstanding bean purveyor, and supply beans to many of America's best chefs.

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Oh yes, I am very familiar with Rancho Gordo. I buy most of my beans from them. I tend to favor Mexican-style beans over, say, Italian-style, so RG is perfect for me

                                        Another good one is Purcell Mountain farms. They have selection that Rancho Gordo doesn't. PM's black-eyed peas are the best I've ever had with no qualification. And I love their rattlesnake beans.

                                        It was RG that turned my love of beans into more of an obsession.

                                  3. re: ttochow

                                    Ttochow, I'd like to get just a little off topic - we could start a new thread - but, in your extensive adventures in beanery, have you ever come across a lima bean and cabbage soup?

                                    My mother used to make this and it was absolutely delicious. Sometimes (as a treat for me) she'd let the beans get slightly browned, which gave the soup an especially rich flavor, but this was very tricky since the beans could go from a few slightly browned to burned, and then you'd have to start over.
                                    Have you ever made or had such a soup? All you Hungarians, feel free to jump in.

                                    1. re: helou

                                      No, I've not run across such a soup. How did the beans get browned?

                                      I've sautéed fresh beans, and they are fantastic.

                                      1. re: ttochow

                                        I actually think the lightly browned beans were a one time accident when they almost burned but were caught just in the nick of time. But I liked the taste it so I wanted it every time.
                                        What I'm really after is a lima bean-cabbage soup.

                                        1. re: ttochow

                                          ttochow, I am a fellow bean-lover, without your culinary sophistication.

                                          I wish you would share some pointers on how to handle fresh beans. I picked some Phaseolus vulgaris up once in the Farmer's market, and followed a recipe that called for me to simmer them for an hour. By the time I cooked them they didn't seem different from dried beans.

                                    2. Just opened up my smoked paprika and my first thought was HAM! So I bet if you used that or marinated chicken in that and oil, it would give you the taste you desire. I got it, of course, in a giant container from Costco.

                                      (I personally dislike smoked turkey--accentuates the gaminess of the dark meat in a way I find unpalatable. I'd much prefer fresh chicken or veal.)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: rccola

                                        Pimenton does work well, but it adds other flavor.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          so does smoked turkey. to me it adds a "ugggh" flavor like a formaldehyded pathology sample

                                      2. Since my husband doesn't eat pork or any red-meat products, all of my recipes - soups included - aren't made with those products.

                                        My bean soups - split pea, black bean, kale & white bean, etc., etc., are all made with turkey products - smoked drumsticks, wings, turkey kielbasa sausage etc., etc. And they're all ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! Even by pork & red-meat-eating standards.

                                        Anyone who feels that smoked turkey products add an unpleasant flavor simply isn't buying quality smoked turkey products.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                          I tend to agree with you. I've used turkey that I've personally smoked, and it's pretty good.

                                          One option you might consider when you are in a experimental mood, if you haven't already, is first oven roasting some turkey bits for about an hour at 400F. The browning is just a phenomenal complement to some beans. I'm thinking something like pintos with wings or a leg. I bet split pea or black-eye peas would be good too. In my experience, the turkey will be worthless when you are done as all the flavor will be in the pot liquor.

                                          1. re: Bacardi1

                                            We all have different tastes. I've had smoked turkey homemade and at fine restaurants in the SF Bay Area and I hated them. THEY WERE QUALITY. I do not care what you think. They're no substitute for pork products. Delicious is relative and no reason for you to sneer at my opinion. .

                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                              In regards to Barcardi1...

                                              You go! : )

                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                Oh, & just as an addendum, being in Virginia, many supermarkets around here carry the famous Smithfield brand of smoked turkey drumsticks, thighs, & wings. All I can say is - AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE.

                                                While we're not adverse to the normal salt content in smoked products, Smithfield smoked turkey products are so salty as to render them inedible. We literally couldn't eat their drumsticks, relegating them to extremely large pots of split-pea soup - lol!!

                                                Our favorite brand is "Eddy's" - absolutely fabulous flavor, tender, & with normal salt content. Only market around here that carries the brand is - gasp! Can you stand it? - our local Walmart. We enjoy the drumsticks often; two to a package, & they're Fred Flintstone Pterodactyl size, so we get a bit of mileage out of them.

                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                  Thanks for the tips but this is the kosher board so we are already avoiding those brands like the plague! :-)

                                              2. I make a killer split pea soup using - turkey pastrami.

                                                I am not kosher but don't eat pork or red meat. My husband eats both!

                                                However, using the turkey pastrami, we are both happy - and he's picky!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: happybaker

                                                  Yup - we're turkey pastrami fans as well. Makes terrific sandwiches (although I, personally, do prefer the real deal - lol!), & are great in omelets, diced into green beans, etc., etc.

                                                  We also make great use of turkey ham - particular Jenni-O's brand of it sold in a large 1 to 2# chunk. I can slice it thin for sandwiches or omelets, slice it thick for "ham steaks", dice it for fried rice or mac & cheese - anything one would do with regular ham. Great stuff, & very inexpensive.

                                                2. Lot's of good ideas here, but just a reminder that bean soup does not have to be smoky. A straight ahead bean-and-chicken soup is just fine. Start with the Edna Lewis/CI chicken stock, reserve the breasts and cut into dice, proceed to cook the beans, add a mirepoix of onions/carrots/whatever. I like a sprig of rosemary, to be removed later.