On a cold evening, I like settling down to a healthy bean stew. This one is particularly simple to make, and lets the smokiness and spicy heat of andouille sausage do much of the work.
1/2 lb dried yellow eye beans*
1 smoked andouille sausage (approx 10″ long)
3 slickes thick cut bacon, sliced into 1/2 ” pieces
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
handful of parsley, chopped
splash of dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
I like to soak my beans whenever possible to speed cooking time, but in any case make sure you rinse the beans and check for any small pebbles. Fill a large pot with water 1 inch above the level of the beans, bring to a boil, then let simmer, loosely covered for 30 minutes. You want the beans to be no more than al dente by the time you move them into the stew pot.
Halve the andouille sausage lengthwise and then cut into 1/2″ wide pieces.
While the beans cook, in a heavy bottomed pan (I was using a 3″ deep cast iron pan), cook the bacon on medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the sausage. Before the bacon turns crispy, remove the meat to a side bowl, add a splash of olive oil to the pot, and add in the onion.
Cook the onion, stirring, for a few minutes, then add in the carrots and celery. Pour in a splash of dry vermouth and scrape up anything on the bottom of the pan. Toss in the parley, 1/4 tsp of salt, and the meat. Lower the heat, and let simmer.
At this point, reserve a couple cups of the bean broth (more if you do not have chicken broth), and add the beans to the pot. Pour in a cup of chicken broth and then add the bean broth until the liquid is just below the top of the vegetables. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 40 minutes or so, until the beans are tender. Check for salt along the way. I used a little more than 1/4 tsp, but your choice of bacon and sausage can affect saltiness a great deal, so don’t add too much too soon.
Serve this by adding a little freshly chopped parsley and drizzling some olive oil on top.
Note: I left garlic out of this particular dish, but it would go quite well. One could also serve this dish with a garlic, parsley and olive oil pistou if you wanted that flavor kick.
Note on beans: I really liked the yellow eye beans from Rancho Gordo — they were firm and mild in taste, and a little more interesting than great northern. If you do not have yellow eye, then I think great northern, flageolet, or vallarta beans would all be nice alternatives.
While this is a fairly classic bean dish, I think I will submit it to My Legume Love Affair, a blog event I always enjoy, hosted this month by The Well Seasoned Cook.