For the soup:
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs, trimmed of excess fat
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
For the bread:
- 6 thick slices white bread
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Make the soup: Combine the bacon, onion, garlic, tomato paste, smoked paprika, Creole seasoning and chili powder in a food processor; pulse to make a coarse paste.
Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the bacon-spice paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown, about 6 minutes. Add the ribs, turning to coat. Stir in the vinegar and molasses, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth and 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, stirring once or twice, until the ribs are tender, 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.
Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and shred the meat; discard the fat and bones. Position the pot halfway off the burner and increase the heat to medium. The fat will migrate to the cooler side; use a ladle to skim it off. Reposition the pot over the burner and add the shredded pork and the beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the bread: Spread each slice evenly with the butter and relish. Top with the scallions and parsley. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the bread.
Photograph by Johnny Miller