Slow Cooker White Beans and Sausages
This was the slow cooker recipe that convinced my family a crockpot might actually work for us. When you return home after a long afternoon of activities to this fresh and flavorful dinner, your family will be ecstatic.
This hearty meal is quick to put together and holds up very well to longer cooking times. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 lb. dried cannellini beans, but my grocery store sells convenient 1 lb. bags of dried great northern beans, so I use those.
If you choose to use cannellini beans (aka Italian white kidney beans), you’ll want to read up on how to cook beans in a slow cooker to learn about about kidney beans and toxicity.
The instructions below assume your slow cooker has a brown/sauté feature, but if not, just use your stove to brown the sausages and sauté the veggies.
1 lb. dried Great Northern beans, sorted, rinsed, soaked (overnight or quick)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 lb. of your favorite raw/fresh sausage links
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 celery ribs, diced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 box (32 oz.) chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 fresh sage sprig
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 bag (5 oz.) fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (opt)
Buttered and toasted ciabatta for serving (opt)
Freshly grated parmesan for serving (opt)
Soak the beans.
Heat 1 Tb. olive oil in the slow cooker. Add the sausages and cook until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
If needed, add another 1 Tb. olive oil. Add the onion, celery and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, sage, soaked beans, and 1 tsp. salt, place sausages on top.
Set the slow cooker to low. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 6-8 hours.
When ready to serve, remove sausages, then discard the bay leaf and herb stems. Season beans with salt & pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and parsley. Gently fold in spinach until it is just wilted. Slice sausages and add back to beans.
Serve immediately with toasted bread. Top with parmesan if desired.
If serving bread, after getting the slow cooker started, go ahead and slice and butter the bread, then place it in a toaster oven (you aren’t toasting it yet). Later as you add the last few ingredients to the slow cooker, the bread in the toaster is ready to go.
Original recipe: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/slow-cooked-cannellini.html