Monday, December 14, 2009

White beans and sausage

With this cold weather comes one pot meals. And I had a real hankering for "Beans and rice".
I love the traditional "Red beans and rice", but the "IBM" in me wanted some white beans.

"IBM" is short for "Italian By Marriage" Not mine, I saw it on a T-shirt at Nor Jo's.

So like in any good bean recipe I soaked the beans. Usually I soak beans over night, but White beans cook faster so I soaked them for 4 hours.

Next step is to get the classic trinity in the pot.

1 green bell seeded and diced
1 onion diced
2 celery sticks diced
1 bay leaf

Place in a large pot with a little oil, salt and pepper. Saute until tender.

While that is going start getting the smoked meat ready. I was at the Tuesday Farmers Market and picked up some smoked sausage and venison loaf. (this is a new product offered by Acadian Foods)

Just cut bite size rounds and add them to the pot. Saute them so that they can release some of their fat and flavor. Remember Fat = Flavor.

Next you want to add your drained beans to the pot. And cover with cold water. You always want to start with cold water.

Bring this to a boil and then reduce the heat so that it stays at a simmer. A film with build up in the beginning, just take a ladle and skim the scum off the top as needed.

Now just let it simmer, add water if you need to. Also I wait to season until it has been simmering for an hour or so. This way I can tell how salty the meat is. Now you can salt and pepper to taste.

After about 2 to 3 hours check the beans, they should be done or close to done. Once they have no bite left they are close to done. Turn up the heat a little and stir. The stirring breaks the beans up a little and makes them creamy by releasing the starch.

Once the beans look creamy and are cooked through, you are done now all that is left is to serve yourself up a bowl.

To go with the beans I like to serve a little green salad. This time of year there is a great abundance of them at the Farmers Market. The Monica's have some beautiful radishes.

I just use what I have for a quick salad. Sometimes it just may be greens and radishes.

An easy way to make a vinaigrette is to just pour all the ingredients in a small mason jar and shake. Here I have 2 parts oil, it can be any oil you like, and one part vinegar, again any you prefer. Salt and pepper to taste. Here I have used Lemon juice for the acid and Olive oil for the fat. This can keep in the refrigerator for a week.