The pandemic has made me think about food. Differently. Shortages of items that are usually in abundance will do that. It’s hard not to plan everything now. You see paper towels, you buy them. Chicken, I grab a couple of packages even though there appears to be plenty. Pancake mix and syrup, yes please! I am always calculating freezer and shelf space. It’s exhausting, but I am fortunate I can worry about how much I can buy and not if I can buy.
I’ve been using beans for a few years in my recipes. You can stack lots of cans in your cabinet. I’ve also read a lot about dry beans. I have found dry beans at the grocery store can be old and take longer to cook. I decided to try to order a brand that had been advertised on social media. They got me. I ordered some Camellia beans. They were more expensive than store dry beans. I hoped they were not old and were easy to cook. I was correct on both counts.They were wonderful! First, I soaked them in cold water for about 6 hours. I used my InstantPot to cook the dry beans. I cooked them in water, with an onion, carrot, garlic and olive oil to stop the frothing. I read it was a good idea to cook them this way, and to season them. I sprinkled a little Creole seasoning in the water. Forty minutes later, I had soft and creamy Northern beans. I used half for this recipe and froze the other half. One pound cooked up to about two pounds.
These creamy beans can be used in salads, soups, or just a simple snack, warmed and drizzled with good olive oil. Use your imagination. I love to canned beans for the convenience, but these cooked dry beans were creamy unlike canned bean.
I found a couple of different recipes online and tweaked them. There are many, many bean recipes. I used some from Camellia beans website. I figured they were the bean experts. They have recipes and how-to’s on the website. Even if you don’t buy their beans, peruse the website for information.
1/2 – 3/4 pounds of cooked Northern beans
1 large onion, diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped celery (optional)
1/4 cup chopped red or green pepper (optional)
2 tbsp. dried parsley or 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 tsp. ground thyme
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning
black pepper and salt to taste
1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock and water, enough to cover beans
1 cup raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 package of Andouille sausage
3/4-1 cup of heavy cream
Hot white rice
In a large heavy pot, add the olive oil and sauté onions until soft. I sprinkle 1/2 tsp. kosher salt over the onions to help draw out the water and soften them. If you are going to use the celery and peppers, add them now to soften them. I did not have them, but the dish was still very tasty. I would use red peppers for a little sweetness and color. Stir in the thyme and cayenne pepper. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the cooked beans and and stock/water to cover the beans. Add salt, pepper and creole seasoning. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
While the beans are simmering, brown the Andouille. I heat a non-stick pan and brown, slices of sausage until slightly browned.
Add the cream and raw shrimp to the bean mixture and simmer until the shrimp are pink. Add the sausage to the mixture.
I let the beans, shrimp and andouille simmer for a little longer, thickening the cream sauce. Serve over or under white rice.