White Beans have never been my favorite thing, but for some reason when I saw the picture of this white bean stew in Real Cajun cookbook (this is a great cookbook, by the way!!), it looked delicious! It has collard greens in it, which intrigued me. Also, it wasn’t your regular (chalky tasting) white bean dish. It’s a stew, so it had a broth to it. I just had to try it and I’m so glad I did, it was AMAZING.
While this is cooking, it smells so good. It didn’t help that I was starving, I couldn’t wait for it to be done! The recipe calls for ham or tasso, but I figured why do one when you can do both? And heck, let’s throw a little bacon in there while we’re at it! The author of the cookbook, Donald Link, should appreciate that since he’s the chef-owner of Cochon in New Orleans!
Meaty White Bean Stew with Collards
Recipe (slightly adapted) from: Real Cajun by Donald Link with Paula Disbrowe
3 cups dried white beans (I used navy beans)
2 tbsp butter or bacon fat (um…I used a little of both!)
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
5 bay leaves
2 tsp salt (it was rather salty, you may want to go with 1-1.5 and then taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 lb. smoked ham or tasso (I used about 2-3 slices of bacon so I could get some bacon grease for the aforementioned bacon fat, 1/2 lb. tasso and 1/2 lb. smoked ham steak)
2 tbsp Creole mustard
1 tsp rosemary
9 cups chicken broth
1 small bunch collard greens, washed and cut away from the stems, into 2-inch pieces
Soak the beans overnight.
Heat the butter and/or bacon fat up in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, jalapeno, garlic, bay leaves and seasonings, stir well and cook until soft.
Add the meat, mustard and rosemary and cook for another three minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain and rinse the beans, pick out any that don’t look appealing. Add them to the pot with the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, cut the heat back and allow to simmer for an hour.
Add the greens and cook another thirty minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat and let it sit for twenty minutes.
Remove the bay leaves then scoop out a little of the beans (I did about a cup) and either mash with a fork if you have to, use a blender or an immersion mixer. Add back to the pot (makes it creamier). Serve over rice, bread or eat alone as a soup.