It’s Cold – Try White Beans and Smoked Sausage To Warm You Up!

It is SO cold this time of year. Firing up the grill is impossible with 6 foot snow drifts and unseasonably below freezing temperatures. So I cheated a little and added barbecue flavors to my dishes this month. When it is this cold you need something that gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling; a reminder of Grandma and her good old fashion cooking. This recipe should make you feel full and satisfied. All you need is a crock pot. **

Great Northern Beans are a delicately flavored white bean related to the kidney bean and the pinto bean. They’re typically grown in the Midwestern US, though some people may grow and harvest them elsewhere. Depending upon where you live, you will find them available canned or dried. Though called a white bean, the color of Great Northern Beans tends toward cream and a few say they appear similar in shape, albeit smaller, to lima beans.

2 cups dried Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
6 ½ cups chicken broth or beef broth
¾ cup long grain rice (I like Basmati rice)
½ teaspoon cumin
1 large onion, diced
1 large red Bell Pepper, large dice
24 ozs. Smoked Kielbasa Sausage, cut in to ¼ inch slices (about 1 ½ packages)
6 cloves crushed/pressed garlic
½ cup fat free buttermilk
1 teaspoon season salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Place everything in the crock pot except the rice, liquid smoke, buttermilk and black pepper. Make sure the broth covers the beans at least 2 inches. Set the Crockpot for 8 hours. About half way through the cooking (4hours) add the rice and stir to cover the rice. If the dish looks dry or if it doesn’t seem to have enough liquid add 1 ½ cup more of broth or water. About 10 minutes before serving add the liquid smoke and buttermilk; stir. The dish is ready to serve when the beans are soft and the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Add black pepper to taste Serve with a side salad and your favorite beer. Serves 8

** A Crock pot makes this an easy dish to make but you can also cook this dish in a large Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid on the back of the stove over a low flame. With the Crockpot you can set it and forget it. You MUST stay home and watch the Dutch oven on the stove!!


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