This simple slow cooker meal is unbelievably delicious! I’ve made it three times in the last couple of months and every time we eat it, my husband and I sit at the table and just sigh over it’s tastiness. It’s kind of funny-slash-pathetic that we’d be so enamored over such simple ingredients. I mean, what we are really talking about here is a revamped slow cooker pork and beans recipe, made even better with flavorful turkey sausage, simple but delicious seasonings and the standard tender pork and hearty beans.
It’s not rocket science. And definitely not filet mignon. But it is the epitome of comfort food and since I’ve already hunkered down for the winter, this healthy, affordable and tasty meal is just what I need to feel better about the months of snow ahead.
Note: Great northern beans are large, hard beans that hold up well in the slow cooker. If unavailable substitute dried red or kidney beans. Because the beans need to be soaked for at least 8 hours, make sure to plan ahead!
- 1 pound dried great northern beans
- 3 pounds country style pork ribs (about 12 ribs), trimmed of excess fat
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound chicken or turkey kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 (14.5 ounce each) cans diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Eight to 24 hours before assembling in the slow cooker, rinse the white beans and place them in a large bowl with cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Let the beans soak anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.
- Eight to 9 hours before eating, drain the beans and transfer them to the slow cooker. Dry the pork ribs thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Add half of the ribs and brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes. Transfer them to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium heat and heat 2 more teaspoons oil until hot and rippling. Brown the remaining ribs and transfer them to the slow cooker.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, tomato paste, celery seed, thyme and bay leaf, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Transfer the onion mixture to slow cooker.
- Add the kielbasa, tomatoes and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on either low or high, until the meat is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 on high. Before serving, discard the bay leaf, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot, steamed rice, if desired.
Freezable: I freeze leftovers of this meal in freezer-safe plastic containers or ziploc bags. I pull it out the night before I want to reheat it and when I’m ready to cook it, I reheat it on on low on the stove. It freezes and reheats beautifully!
Recipe Source: adapted from Cooks Illustrated Cover and Bake