Northern Beans Recipe

Classic Northern Beans Recipe: A Comforting and Nutritious Dish

Northern beans, also known as Great Northern beans, are a versatile and nutritious legume that can be used in a variety of dishes. They have a mild flavor and a creamy texture, making them perfect for soups, stews, and casseroles. Here’s a simple and hearty Northern beans recipe that’s perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of dried Great Northern beans
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ham hock or 1 cup of diced ham (optional for added flavor)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

1. Prepare the Beans:

  • Rinse the dried beans under cold water and remove any debris.
  • Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight, or use the quick soak method by boiling the beans for 2 minutes, then removing them from heat and letting them sit, covered, for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.

2. Sauté the Vegetables:

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  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

3. Cook the Beans:

  • Add the soaked and drained beans to the pot with the sautéed vegetables.
  • Pour in the chicken broth or vegetable broth.
  • Add the bay leaf, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and smoked paprika (if using).
  • If using, add the ham hock or diced ham.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender.
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4. Final Seasoning:

  • Remove the bay leaf and ham hock (if used). If you used a ham hock, you can shred the meat and add it back to the pot.
  • Season the beans with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve:

  • Ladle the beans into bowls.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
  • Serve with crusty bread or cornbread for a complete meal.

Tips for the Perfect Northern Beans

  1. Soaking the Beans: Soaking the beans overnight helps to reduce cooking time and makes them easier to digest. If you forget to soak them, the quick soak method works well.
  2. Adding Flavor: The ham hock or diced ham adds a rich, smoky flavor to the beans. For a vegetarian option, consider adding a dash of liquid smoke or smoked paprika.
  3. Consistent Simmer: Keep the heat low to maintain a gentle simmer, which helps to cook the beans evenly without breaking them apart.
  4. Adjusting Thickness: If you prefer a thicker bean dish, you can mash some of the beans against the side of the pot or use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the soup.
  5. Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley or thyme can be added at the end of cooking for a burst of fresh flavor.

This classic Northern beans recipe is both hearty and nutritious, perfect for a cozy meal. Enjoy the comforting taste of these creamy, flavorful beans with your favorite sides!

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