Sunday, January 3, 2010

The beans are in the pot

Every year two circumstances coincide to force a New Year's resolution. I get buried in the last huge CSA boxes of root vegetables, and I buy too much food for holiday entertaining. When I see how full the larder is I resolve to EAT WHAT WE HAVE, damn it, and not keep buying things just because they're on sale or they look good or I'm in the mood for something else or I want to try a new recipe.

This year is even worse than ever because I came down with the flu two days before Christmas and had to cancel the big family Christmas dinner with all the food already bought and much of it half prepared. I could feed the block for a week with what's in the house. Luckily not too much of it was fragile, and what was I managed to salvage by cooking and freezing.

All of this is to say that until further notice, while Jack WILL have his Monday beans, I'll be making them with whatever we have in the house and hoping to reduce the ridiculous overflow in the pantry and fridge.

It's Sunday, the Steelers game is starting in half an hour, and I've already got the beans in the pot for tomorrow. I'm still on the tail end of the flu and don't trust my tastebuds so Jack will be the judge of how these turn out.

Tuscan White Beans

1 lb. great northern beans (I'd have preferred cannellini but didn't have any)
1 large red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 Trader Joe's Italian Sausage-Less Sausage (use meat if you want)
1 small sweet potato
1 box Kitchen Basics Vegetable Stock
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp. minced fresh sage
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover, then drain and put them in the slow cooker with the stock.

Cut the onion in half lengthwise, then in thin wedges. Toss with a little olive oil and roast in a hot oven until browned and nearly crisp. Add to the bean pot. Mince the sausage (I only had one; I'd use another if I had it) and brown well in a skillet; add to bean pot. Dice the sweet potato and brown well in skillet, adding the minced herbs and garlic toward the end. Add to the beans, along with a little salt and a lot of freshly ground pepper. Set the slow cooker on high until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce to low and let cook for 8 hours or so.

I know the sweet potato isn't traditional, but it was half-peeled and unused from another meal, so rather than dump it I thought it might add a little body and sweetness to the beans.

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