Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ham and Sausage White Bean Stew

A white bean stew, made with smoked ham, a good quality andouille or smoked sausage and a mirepoix of vegetables.
A white bean stew, made with smoked ham, a good quality andouille or smoked sausage and a mirepoix of vegetables.

Ham and Sausage White Bean Stew

I have still been working my way through the freezer - some of our meals were reheated leftovers, others, whatever meat I happened to grab first.

In the past two weeks or so, I've baked a ham that I'd picked up on a holiday sale and froze, which along with some frozen sides, gave us a couple of meals and leftover ham for sandwiches. Pre-seasoned ground beef I'd picked up on sale, cooked and put up, became one of our favorite casseroles - Ground Beef Mac and Cheese.

I pulled pork chops on the draw twice, something my husband didn't mind at all, making my Easy Pork Chop and Onion Bake and also my Smothered Pork Chops with Cream Gravy. Some packages of chicken thighs and legs became my Southern Style Baked Chicken, a cookbook exclusive found on page 130 of my Deep South Dish: Homestyle Southern Recipes cookbook.

The goal has been to consume as much as possible and make my way to the back and bottom of both freezers, so thankfully while I was feeling a bit under the weather the past few days, there were plenty of leftovers to finish off and nothing (except for the ham bone) went back to the freezer, yay!

I'm making some leeway, but the deep freeze is still pretty full and it's been so hard for me not to buy sale meat the past few weeks, because that is the only way I manage my budget these days with the price of groceries. Food costs have gotten outrageous!

A bag of ham chunks is what presented itself this time, and the weather was on the chill again, so I grabbed a package of Conecuh sausage from the fridge and put together this white bean stew, filling in with the pantry and some veggies from the crisper.

I only call this a stew because I wanted it a little thicker than I would a soup - I guess what Rachael Ray calls a "stoup" - adding in some plain, mashed potato, rather than cubed potatoes, though that can easily be omitted, or diluted further with additional stock or broth to make a soup.

Here's how to make this easy white bean stew.

Brown sausage in 1/2 tablespoon fat; remove and set aside. I used 1/4 pound of Conecuh.

Add remaining fat to pan and saute onion, carrots and celery for 4 minutes. Add garlic and seasonings and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock or broth and bring to a boil. A good homemade stock, or any good quality commercial broth or stock will work here of course, though again I recommend my favorite brand, Kitchen Basics stock {affil link} . I just love that stuff!

Add the ham and return the sausage to pot, reducing to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes. My bag of ham had a hock in it so I also added that. Mash the potato - I just cooked a large red-skinned potato in the microwave using the baked potato setting to keep things easy.

Stir the potato in until fully incorporated - this is what gives the stew a more creamy, stew-like texture. If this were summer, or if there were a decent tomato to be found anywhere, I would have used fresh tomato. I was at the grocery store yesterday picking up produce and there wasn't even a single clamshell with decent grape tomatoes to be found! Anyway, I went with canned, diced tomatoes, a pantry staple for me, but like my veggie soup, I didn't want the juices, so I drained them.

Add beans - I used canned white beans just to speed up the process, but by all means use cooked, dried beans if you prefer, just cook them a bit more al dente so they won't turn into mush. Continue to simmer the stew until beans are warmed through and stew reaches desired consistency; taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over cornbread, hot steamed rice or mashed potatoes, or just as is, with a green salad and cornbread on the side.

The first day I served the stew with some leftover popovers I'd made to go with the Vegetable Soup, then I made Honey Jalapeno Cornbread the next day to go with those leftovers. I had the desire to spoon the stew over my cornbread - not how I would typically serve a bean stew - but one reader mentioned doing that with beans somewhere along the way recently, and I guess it stuck with me. Was pretty good actually!

For more of my favorite soups and stews, check out my Pinterest page!

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Posted by on February 4, 2016

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