Beans make a hearty one-pot meal. Pair with fresh bread and a glass of vino and you’re all set for a simple, but delicious supper. Beans are also good for you. They are an excellent source of fiber, high in protein, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium. They are easy to make and store well in the fridge for about a week and longer in the freezer.
You can use any small, white bean for this recipe. I chose Great Northern’s because they really hold up when cooked low and slow and they have a delicate, almost nutty flavor, which absorbs all the beautiful spices added to the beans. But Navy Beans or Cannellini beans would work well, too.
Can you make these in your slow cooker/crock pot? Yes, but I chose to let them bubble away on the stove for a couple of hours. Can you use canned beans? Yes, but so much better with dried beans and more fun to make.
I also like to use canned Cento San Marzano tomatoes. They are a bit more expensive than other canned tomatoes, but well worth it. They actually taste like tomatoes. They grow in the south of Italy, north of Sicily in the Campania region. They even have PAC (Product Attribute Certification) traceability and you can pinpoint where your can of tomatoes was grown by going to: www.findmyfield.com.
Here are the shallots, onions, garlic and diced bacon ready to saute.
I don’t have many photos this time. Beans are not all that pretty, but this batch sure was tasty! I made a double batch as they freeze well. Cut everything in half if you don’t want to deal with that many beans. If you like spice, add more pepper, but these amounts give you a good balance of heat and flavor.
THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY…UNTIL NEXT TIME KEEP ENJOYING, EXPERIMENTING AND EVOLVING IN YOUR OWN KITCHENS!
Spicy Savory Beans
Spicy, but not too hot with rich full flavors and a hint of smoke.
- 1 large White or Yellow onion, diced About 2 cups
- 2 large Shallots, diced About 1 cup
- 4 large Cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Bacon fat
- 4 slices Thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 Qt. Rich chicken stock Preferably home-made
- 1 28 oz. Cento canned San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 lbs. Great Northern beans Or bean of your choice
- 3 big Sprigs fresh rosemary Keep it whole on the stem as it totally comes off while cooking. Remove the rosemary stems once fully cooked.
- 4 Sprigs fresh thyme Same as above. Use whole and then remove stems when beans are cooked.
- 3 Bay leaves
- 8 Sprigs Italian parsley About 1 1/2 cups, chopped
- 2 tsp. Crushed red chili pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Salt More if needed as the beans cook.
- 1/4 tsp. Cumin
- 1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp. Liquid Smoke Like Wright's Hickory smoke
- 2 Tbsp. Maple syrup
- 1/2 Juice of 1/2 lemon
Wash the beans and make sure there are no little stones. Soak the beans for a few hours. Drain and rinse. Heat 2 Tbsp. bacon fat in large, heavy-bottomed pan. Saute the bacon until soft, but not crisp.
Add onion and shallot and gently saute until they are soft and translucent; about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another 1 or 2 minutes.
Add the beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, and all other ingredients. With the back of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, break up the whole tomatoes. They, too will disappear once the beans are cooked, but this helps develop flavor.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered for another 2 hours. You may need to add more chicken stock if the beans drink up all that is there.
The beans should be tender, but not mushy. Cooking time may take longer if your beans are old. Once they have reached the right doneness, add the parsley, freshly squeezed lemon juice. Adjust seasoning for salt and other spices. Simmer another 20 minutes.
Serve in bowls drizzled with olive oil if you like or garnished with parsley. These beans were so flavorful we just ate them as they were!
This sounds like a lot of ingredients, but if you measure and mix together all of the dry spices before you begin it will speed things up. The maple syrup helps to balance all the flavors and the liquid smoke and smoked paprika give these beans just the right amount of smokiness.