|White Beans with Pickle Pork|
Mondays in New Orleans are all about red beans. If you work anywhere–hospitals, school, hotel–where there’s an employee meal, you’re going to find yourself staring smack at a big plate of red beans and rice. This tradition goes way back in time to when Mondays were wash days, so women had too much to do without having to think about cooking dinner, too. Red beans go on the stove in the morning and cook all day and honestly, nothing smells better.
Now that you know a little about red beans, let me introduce you to the other beans of New Orleans–white beans. White beans are actually Lima beans, cooked just like red beans, except after hours on the stove, they’re so soft and buttery that they also go by another name–butter beans.
While Mr. B loves a big pot of red beans, nothing gets his heart to fluttering like a pot of butter beans. So, you can image his excitement when the postman arrived with a huge heavy box bearing a New Orleans post mark. I told him that I had ordered a surprise, but nothing prepared him for opening the package to find 16 pounds of assorted beans from our beloved Camellia Beans company. Truthfully, if you’re going to make beans, there’s no other brand.
I decided to make a pot last Monday and I used Mr. B’s homemade pickle pork to make it extra special. If you can’t find any pickle pork, then use a ham bone and some ham scraps.
White Beans and Rice
1 pound of pickle pork or ham bone, or ham scraps or pickle
1 package Camellia Giant Lima Beans (you HAVE to use this brand)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery, leafy greens as well
1 green bell pepper chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup of ham stock (leftover ham drippings) or, 2 packages of Goya Ham concentrate
4 bay leaves
1. Put butter, onion, celery and bell pepper into a pan over medium heat and sauté until vegetables are wilted.
2. Add ham stock and beans; toss to coat.
3. Add water to cover beans and add the bay leaves.
4. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and cover; allow to sit for 30 minutes.
5. Pour beans into a crockpot; add pickle pork, ham bone, or ham scraps; cover.
6. Cook on low for 12 hours.
7. Turn off crockpot and allow the beans to cool for 1 hour.
8. Remove the extra liquid and set aside (this is about 2 cups); when cool, put into a container and freeze for your next pot of beans; this is bean starter.
9. Remove 2 cups of beans from the crockpot and put into a flat bottomed bowl.
10. With a potato masher, mash the beans up and then scrape them back into the crockpot.
11. Stir the mashed beans into the whole beans until your beans are creamy.
12. Serve with rice.