In the 1824 cookbook The Virginia House-Wife, cooks were instructed to make beef soup this way: “Take the hind shin of beef, cut off all the flesh off the leg-bone, which must be taken away entirely, or the soup will be greasy.” Fortunately, today all you have to do is pick up ready-to-use beef shanks from your supermarket.
- In large bowl, place beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Soak overnight. Drain and rinse beans.
- In nonreactive 8-quart saucepot, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef, in batches, and cook until well browned, transferring meat to bowl as it is browned. Reduce heat to medium; add onions and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cloves; cook 30 seconds. Return beef to saucepot; add carrots, cabbage, celery, water, broth, salt, thyme, and pepper; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, combine beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beans are just tender, about 30 minutes; drain. Add potatoes and beans to saucepot; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes longer.
- With slotted spoon, transfer beef to cutting board. Cut beef into 1⁄2-inch pieces; discard bones and gristle. Return beef to saucepot; add frozen corn and peas. Heat through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley to serve.