You know how every summer, I spend about 92% of my time complaining about the weather in Louisiana? Yes, it’s true, summer in Louisiana kills my soul (and just for kicks, I thought I’d throw pregnancy into the mix this last summer…it was amazing when my baby was born and I suddenly didn’t feel overheated and filled murderous rage the vast majority of the time). But what’s even more melancholy for this Utah girl are the lack of distinct seasons. Winter can be yucky. Or it could just feel like spring. But we never really get a spring or a fall, which are my two favorite seasons. And in November, when it’s in the 60s or 70s and I get all homesick for the swirling leaves and crisp, chilly air and legitimate sweater-wearing, I start making food that reminds me of home.
When the weather does get even remotely chilly, I jump all over it. Bust out the corduroys and the Christmas music and make rustic, homey things in my slow cooker like beans with smokey bacon and earthy rosemary. It’s perfect comfort food, especially when you use a loaf of hearty bread like ciabatta and this garlic bread seasoning to make a loaf of garlic bread to dip into your beans.
You’ll need bacon (make sure it’s not maple bacon…yummy as it is, it would only make you sad here), a pound of dry great northern beans, an onion, some garlic, a quart of chicken broth, red wine vinegar, and fresh rosemary.
Take your beans…
and rinse them, picking through them and picking out any stones or yucky, shriveled beans.
Then cut your bacon up into bite-sized pieces.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and then add the bacon. Cook until crisp and then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set it aside.
Reserve 1-2 tablespoons of bacon drippings and discard the rest. Add the onion
and cook until tender and fragrant. When the onion is almost done cooking, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 additional minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the beans, chicken broth, water, garlic, onion, and bacon in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours (high elevations may need longer) or low all day. Or you could start it on high until it boils and then turn it down low. Or soak your beans first and cook them shorter. This could really be it’s very own post. But just cook them until the beans are tender. Add the vinegar, chopped rosemary, and season with salt and pepper to taste. This serves about 6-8.
White Beans with Rosemary
Recipe adapted from Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen
1 lb. Great Northern Beans, rinsed and picked through (for stones and yucky stuff)
6 ounces bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove from pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and discard (or save) the rest. Add the onions to the bacon drippings and cook until tender. When they’re almost done cooking, add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
Place the beans, water, chicken broth, bacon, onions, and garlic in your slow cooker and cover. Cook on high for 6-8 hours, low all day, or high until they boil and then low until beans are tender. When done cooking, add the butter, vinegar, chopped rosemary, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread. Serves 6-8.
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