Monday, March 4, 2013

Creamy White Bean Stew

12 oz apple smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Pinch or two sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 (15 oz) cans small white beans (or navy beans), drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Place a large Dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat. Once the pot is hot, add in a small drizzle of olive oil, and the chopped bacon. Crisp the bacon completely until nice and brown, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain it on some paper towel, and set it aside for a moment. Reserve about 1 Tbsp of the bacon fat, and set that aside for a moment, as well. Wipe out the pot, and return it to medium-high heat.

Next, add back into the pot the bacon fat, along with the olive oil and the butter, and allow them to melt together. Once melted and hot, add in the diced onion, carrots and celery, and allow them to soften and saute for about 5 minutes. Next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in about 2/3 of the reserved, crisped bacon, as well as the Italian seasoning, the sea salt and the pepper, along with the white beans, and stir to combine. Next, add in the chicken stock, stir, and allow the stew to gently simmer for about 40-45 minutes, partially covered with lid. About half way through the cooking process, mash the beans a little bit with the back of your spoon, or with a potato masher, to break up the beans a little bit and release their natural starch to thicken the stew. After about 40 minutes, turn the heat off and finish the stew by adding in the chopped parsley, the lemon zest and the lemon juice.

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