It’s been over two years since my slow cooker has seen the light of day and you might be laughing at me now for waiting until the middle of spring to use it again. Most cooks would be putting theirs away for the season. A storm passed through the San Francisco bay area last weekend and I wanted some comfort food to make up for the (frightening) thunder that rumbled right over my house for hours–at least it sounded that way. I had the meat in the freezer, the beans in the pantry and the storm outside: no better reason to dust off my slow cooker and try pork and beans for the first time.
Truthfully, my expectations weren’t high as I threw in frozen stew meat, unsoaked dry beans, stock and some herbs and spices into my slow cooker. After taking stock of my ingredients, I found this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe that hit all the right notes with me. However, I went the extremely lazy route and skipped the defrosting and browning of the meat (also used boneless instead of ribs), sautéing the onions, soaking the beans and omitted the sausage altogether. I just threw everything into my slow cooker. Well, except the tomatoes. I learned from a friend recently that adding acidic ingredients to beans before they’re tender halts the cooking process so I waited to add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste until the last hour of cooking time.
I might have spent the first two hours with fingers crossed not knowing if my lazy method would yield decent results but this stew was marvelous! It wasn’t rich, too heavy and cloying–rather it was filling and quite satisfying to eat in my warm kitchen while the wind howled outside and the clouds poured over my house last weekend.
Please try to ignore the fact that I’m sharing this hearty, cold-weather dish with you on one of the sunniest weeks we’ve had in a while. But do save the recipe for the next cold, rainy day. You won’t regret it.
- ½ pound dried Snowcap beans (or northern beans)
- 1½ pound boneless pork cut in stew-size pieces, frozen
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 - 2¼ cups chicken stock, warmed in microwave or on the stove
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed (optional)
- ½ teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Add all the ingredients into the slow cooker from the beans to the bay leaf in the list above. For the chicken stock, use as little or as much as you will need to cover the beans so they cook evenly.
- Cook on High for 4 hours. You may want to stir everything together once or twice just to make sure the all the beans are cooking properly.
- After 4 hours, if the beans are tender, add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. I like to add a little fish sauce for an extra savory flavor but you may omit.
- Turn the power down to Low and cook for another hour.
- Serve with rice or with country bread
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Jean, only you could make a slow cooker dish look beautiful enough to serve at a dinner party!! Your talents never cease to amaze me. I love your copper bowls, too. Have a great weekend!
Thanks, Laura! The copper-lined mini cookware were my souvenirs from South America. I’m so pleased with them!
Jennie @themessybakerblog says
This sounds really good. Who cares if it’s sunny and warm. I will eat beans year round. I love beans. I can make a meal out of just beans. Is that weird? Don’t you just love unexpected success.
Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says
My husband would probably do just about anything for me if I made him this mouthwatering dish, ha! Looks so delicious. What stunning photos, too!
Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
I am not a fan of beans, but this looks saucy and delicious! I say use your slow cooker whenever!
This looks heavenly!!! Love a good slow cooker meal!
Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings says
oh, i wish i had a slow cooker!! this dish is just lovely! we’re still ok for slow cooked/braised/stewed foods up here in Canada where it’s not exactly warm as of yet…
It does not matter if it is warm outside, it is absolutely worth it when I see such delicious dish!! I am hungry now 🙂
Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef says
This is really lovely and I would be more than happy to serve this to my guests!
Sandra's Easy Cooking says
That’s sounds like a life of my slow cooker..:))) So glad that you posted this, looks wonderful and what’s not to like..Tasty and beautiful meal!!!
Oh, this would be a hubby pleaser! I’ll have to dust off my slow cooker, too 🙂
2 years? That’s like a slow cooker crime! That poor thing (I am a huge fan of my slow cooker – can you tell?). However, lazy version or not, this pork and beans looks like it came out wonderfully. I don’t mind at all you sharing this recipe now as I use my slow cooker all year long.
Kita, I do know what you mean! 🙂 When I first got my slow cooker, I looked for every reason to use it. I mean, how can you not love how easy it is to make dinner?! I really should follow your lead and use mine more often. 🙂
Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says
I love slow cooker meals like this one! Glad you pulled it out and shared this recipe with us!
Jean, you’ll laugh, but the first image that popped into my head was the old Heinz canned Pork & Beans! Your creation by far surpassed my expectations! I should have know better! This looks & sounds wonderful. It was foggy all day in Oxnard today – it was gorgeous yesterday.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Susan, too funny! I’ve never made pork and beans before so you’d better believe that the pork and beans I had a few times as a kid was the canned stuff, too. 🙂 This is much better! 🙂
Thanks and have a great weekend yourself!
Sounds a great meal for anytime of year and it’s not your ordinary pork and beans as I suspected from you Jean :).Glad your cooker till worked.
Hi Jean, I’m shameless and use my slow cooker for pulled pork through summer.. 🙂 My husband and I would enjoy this hearty dish and I love your souvenirs! Gorgeous! My Dad especially has called me crazy for lugging back bowls from Europe and dishes from Japan but they make the best souvenirs! Have a great weekend. 🙂
Kristi Rimkus says
You’re right, I’ve put mine away for the summer. Sounds like I need to take it out again. Delicious recipe!
Priscilla @ShesCookin says
I think my slow cooker is feeling neglected… Great tip about not adding acidic ingredients – maybe that’s why it takes longer than it should when I used dried beans… A lovely rustic and satisfying meal!
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
Oh the wonders of a slow cooker. Your dish looks and sounds great! I would make this recipe anytime of the year.
Magic of Spice says
Well you have managed to make this thrown together slow cooker meal, look amazing! It is cold here today and my family will be wanting comfort foods 🙂 Lovely dish!
You can take anything…and make it look so very delicious! How do you do it? Thank you for sharing. Your post has whetted my appetite, and now I need to get creative and make dinner. I hope you have a wonderful start to your week!
If I has a slow cooker, I would use it year round. While we do eat lighter meals in the warmer weather months, every once in a while a meal like this is perfect. It’s funny because we had cool rainy weather here last week and I also made a bean dish, great minds think a like hehe:)
I will definitely bookmark this recipe, it looks delicious.
We’re back to having rainy weather this week so this stew would be just the right thing again! Glad you like it! 🙂
I’m saving this one for my husband, he always gets mad at me because I won’t buy him canned pork and beans, lol. I have to replace my crock-pot it broke and I haven’t had a chance to replace it yet. This weather sure has been strange hasn’t it. Hope you have a great weekend. We need to set up a brunch again, hint, hint.
Hi, Gina! I know, I really want to have a blogger get-together again. Where does the time go? It’s almonst May–can’t believe it. Okay, we need to think of some dates.
I hope your husband likes this stew. It was even better a day or two after. 🙂
Betty Ann @Mango_Queen says
I love pork and beans but never made them in a slow cooker. This looks amazing and your photos are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Jean. Will try this soon 🙂