I haven’t said wow so many times over a dish in a while. It was so good, I immediately became excited for leftovers, after a single bite. The beans are creamy, enveloping chunks of slow cooked ham, and the greens a bitter and fresh addition. Also with just 15 minutes of prep time you have a meal to throw in the slow cooker for dinner. What’s not to love?
Soaking the beans overnight ensures you breakdown all the difficult to digest complex sugars. You don’t have to use anchovies if they freak you out BUT I promise you won’t taste them. They dissolve into the other flavors and give a unique salty savoriness to the dish. I used whole chilies because they started selling them in the produce section of my grocery store. I find that using whole chilies lends fruity, smoky notes from chilies apart from straight heat but use whatever is easily and readily available to you.
This is a fantastic way to use up leftover ham if you have any in your freezer still from the holidays. That was my inspiration for the dish. I wanted to do an Italian twist on the southern ham and beans soup and when I spotted this recipe in Bon Appetit I knew it was the perfect starting point. It also incorporates plenty of greens making it a perfect one pot meal. The ham could easily be omitted to make vegetarian, I’d just add additional parmesan at the end to make up for that missing salty, savory note.Ham, Greens and White Bean Stew in the Slow Cooker Serves 8 Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2014 issue
- Olive Oil
- 4 anchovy fillets (optional)
- 3 chilies de arbol or crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 ham hock, leftover ham bone, or 1 lb cooked ham, coursely chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 parmesan rind (optional, but preferred and a great way to get rid of something you would throw away)
- 1 lb dried white beans (I used Great Northern beans)
- 4 cups water
- 1 bunch kale, torn into bite size pieces
- 4 cups arugula
- For serving: grated parmesan and crusty bread
Heat 2-3 glugs of olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies, if using, and chilies and cook 2-4 minutes, breaking up the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they dissolve into the oil. Add the garlic, onion, and celery and cook until onion and celery begins to soften 6-8 minutes.
In the crock pot layer ham, beans, rosemary, parmesan rind and sautéed vegetables. Pour water over top and cook 8+ hours on low or 6 hours on high. Stir kale into the crock pot for 20-30 additional minutes until tender. Top with arugula, grated parmesan and serve with crusty bread.
Special Equipment Needed: Slow Cooker