White Beans with Rosemary

You know how every summer, I spend about 92% of my time complaining about the weather in Louisiana? Yes, it’s true, summer in Louisiana kills my soul (and just for kicks, I thought I’d throw pregnancy into the mix this last summer…it was amazing when my baby was born and I suddenly didn’t feel overheated and filled murderous rage the vast majority of the time). But what’s even more melancholy for this Utah girl are the lack of distinct seasons. Winter can be yucky. Or it could just feel like spring. But we never really get a spring or a fall, which are my two favorite seasons. And in  November, when it’s in the 60s or 70s and I get all homesick for the swirling leaves and crisp, chilly air and legitimate sweater-wearing, I start making food that reminds me of home.

When the weather does get even remotely chilly, I jump all over it. Bust out the corduroys and the Christmas music and make rustic, homey things in my slow cooker like beans with smokey bacon and earthy rosemary. It’s perfect comfort food, especially when you use a loaf of hearty bread like ciabatta and this garlic bread seasoning to make a loaf of garlic bread to dip into your beans.

You’ll need bacon (make sure it’s not maple bacon…yummy as it is, it would only make you sad here), a pound of dry great northern beans, an onion, some garlic, a quart of chicken broth, red wine vinegar, and fresh rosemary.

Take your beans…

and rinse them, picking through them and picking out any stones or yucky, shriveled beans.

Then cut your bacon up into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and then add the bacon. Cook until crisp and then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set it aside.

Reserve 1-2 tablespoons of bacon drippings and discard the rest. Add the onion

and cook until tender and fragrant. When the onion is almost done cooking, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 additional minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the beans, chicken broth, water, garlic, onion, and bacon in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours (high elevations may need longer) or low all day. Or you could start it on high until it boils and then turn it down low. Or soak your beans first and cook them shorter. This could really be it’s very own post. But just cook them until the beans are tender. Add the vinegar, chopped rosemary, and season with salt and pepper to taste. This serves about 6-8.

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  1. My husband is looking into a fellowship in Shreveport… Is this something I should be dreading!? The beans look great, are you anti canned beans when it comes to cooking? I have never used dry beans, they intimidate me.

    1. It’s an adjustment, I’m not gonna lie. But if you’re going into it knowing it’s going to be a temporary situation and there are going to be other medical students around, I think it would be okay. I’ve never been to Shreveport, though. 🙂

    1. The quick answer is NO, of course not. The nicer answer is, why so you need a substitute? Flavor opinions?, allergies?, availability? That may make a big difference in what you might substitute.

  2. So, I live in the sticks and our grocery store is sadly understocked when it comes to delicious FRESH things like herbs and even some of the more exotic (non-Utah) veggies. So, I don’t have any way to get my hands on fresh rosemary. Can I sub dried and just add it earlier while it is simmering to bring out the flavor? This gross negligence also means that after all these years I also haven’t tried your pesto recipes. Its a hardship.

    1. You can try it–rosemary is an herb that translates pretty well from fresh to dried, but I’ve never tried it in this recipe.

      One thing you can try (maybe not now, but in the warmer months) is buying a rosemary (or basil) plant in the plant section of Lowe’s or Walmart (if you have those). They’re way cheaper and you can keep it all year. 🙂

  3. This comment may be really silly… but… would you serve this like a soup as a main course, or would it probably be more for a side to compliment something else? I’m wanting to make it as a main…

    1. Not a dumb question at all! It’s not *really* soup, but it can stand on its own as a main course–try serving it with bread and salad. Or you could serve it as a side dish to something else. Hope that helps! 🙂

  4. My hubby and I were stationed at Ft Stewart, Georgia as newlyweds. No air conditioning in the apt, no air in the car. My poor cats had flea infestations like no other place we have ever lived since: Bugs, heat, loneliness. One of my neighbors, four were chaplains, gave me my first bean soup recipe, a true comfort food, for which I was so grateful. What a wash of memories this recipe brings! I am eager to try your recipe with rosemary. What a hearty, pungent herb to compliment the creaminess of the white beans. I just love your food ideas!

  5. Could I mix beans in this recipe? I have a half bag of Great Northerns and a full bag of red kidneys in the pantry. This sounds so good.

    1. I probably wouldn’t. White beans are kind of creamy and are more tender, while the kidney beans are definitely heartier. White beans also cook more quickly, so I think you might end up with a weird texture/flavor combo. 🙂

  6. I totally sympathize. We moved to Savannah, GA from Idaho for my hubby’s graduate program and we miss the seasons, too. I even miss the snow, although I don’t miss scraping it off my car. The biggest bummer about Savannah is that when the weather starts to cool off and get nice, the sand gnats come out. But we are moving back this Christmas, so I’ll go for a tromp in the snow and drink some hot cocoa for you. 🙂

  7. Ahhh yes…the dreaded no seasons south.I lived in Arkansas for a couple of years,and was totally prego too! I have a sibling photo of us in Nebraska for Christmas. Everyone was in jeans and sweaters…except me! I had on shorts and a t-shirt, and was loving it! I just saw your fantastic looking bean dish…and now I can use up that fresh rosemary I got for the fabulous stuffing we had for Thanksgiving. Artichokes and cheese? YUM-A_LUMMA! So now I can’t wait to try these! AND, I don’t throw away the bacon drippings! (GASP!!) I store them in a sealed container in the fridge to add nummy yummies to my other foods. Oh…and I roasted garlic heads wrapped in foil WITH the turkey..then added to mashed potatoes…HEAVEN!! Thanks for the great turkey day dishes!

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