Fatback and Heirloom Bean Soup

  • Serves

    serves 10-12


You can serve this soup the day you prepare it, but after an overnight rest in the refrigerator, the beans will have absorbed some of the broth and the soup will have a deeper flavor. Author Kevin Gillespie likes to mash the beans up a bit to create a creamy texture. This recipe first appeared with the 2015 SAVEUR 100 essay, Granny Gillespie's Soup Beans.


  • 10 oz. skinless pork fatback, rinsed in cold water, and cut into 1” pieces
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. Accent flavor enhancer
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
  • 12 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 carrots, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 lb. dried Mother Stallard or pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


Step 1

Bring fatback, stock, salt, the Accent, if using, the chile flakes, pepper, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and onions in an 8-qt. Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered for 30 minutes. Add beans; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, until beans are very tender, about 2 hours, and let cool. Chill soup overnight. The next day, reheat soup over medium-high; cook, stirring and mashing up beans with a potato masher, to make a creamy soup. Stir in vinegar and salt; serve in bowls and garnish with scallions.

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