The holy grail of comfort food: Crockpot Tuscan Pork and Beans. Comforting to eat, and comfortable to make; your slow cooker does ALL the work!
Is there anything more comforting than coming home after a long day of work, opening the front door, and inhaling the intoxicating scent of a meal that’s ready and waiting for you?
Or, if you work from home like I do, spending the entire day locked in a delicious pork-and-bean scented torture chamber?
Wherever you’re destined to wait it out, you’ll be longing to take that first bite of this hearty meal all day long!
The pork is fork-tender, the beans creamy and rich, and the dense sauce that holds it all together tastes of sage, rosemary, and a hint of fennel.
This recipe deserves a permanent place on your dinner schedule, and here’s why:
First, you don’t have to soak the beans. I loathe soaking beans, and I know that you do, too. The common thought used to be that soaking beans would reduce some of their, ahem, more musical qualities, but that’s pretty much been disproved. Soaking them does cut down on cook time, but since you’re slow-cooking them anyway, who gives a crap? Am I right? You should still sort through your dried beans to remove any pebbles or debris, and give them a quick rinse in your colander to remove any residual dirt, but no need to plan ahead for bean-soaking time.
Secondly, you don’t have to sear your meat before putting it in the slow cooker. There’s so much flavor going on in this dish that you really won’t notice a difference if you do. If you insist on searing your meat ahead of time, just sear one side only. Those high temperatures can dry the meat out, and you really want this pork to be moist and tender.
Finally, you can cook this recipe in your slow cooker while you’re gone at work all day. Back when I worked outside of the home, I loathed when slow cooker recipes told me to cook something for 5 hours. Um, no. You can cook this in the Crockpot for 8-10 hours, so you’re golden even if you have a bit of a commute.
Pour yourself a bottle of wine, my friends. Dinner is waiting!
Here’s the Recipe!
- 1 pound dried Navy beans, rinsed and picked over for debris
- 1 quart (4 cups) low sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 - 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
- 4 large leaves fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh cracked pepper, butter-toasted crusty bread, and white wine vinegar for serving (optional)
- Place the beans, broth, and bay leaves in a large slow cooker. Place the pork on top of the beans.
- Use a small food processor (or mortar and pestle) to grind the sage, salt, fennel, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil together into a paste.* Smear the paste all over the top of the pork.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 8-10 hours, until pork is tender and beans are cooked through. Gently shred the pork into chunks.
- Serve topped with freshly cracked black pepper and butter-toasted crusty bread. Drizzle on a splash of white wine vinegar if desired.
*If you don't own a small food processor or mortar and pestle, you can very finely mince all of the paste ingredients and combine with a spatula.
This recipe freezes very well if you end up with too many leftovers. You can freeze it flat in a zipper-close freezer bag, or divide servings up into freezer-safe mason jars. When re-heating, you may need to add a bit of broth or water as the broth can get very thick as it sets.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 608 Total Fat 39g Saturated Fat 14g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 22g Cholesterol 154mg Sodium 1043mg Carbohydrates 18g Fiber 6g Sugar 1g Protein 45g