Sunday Supper & More

White bean and pork ragout

(Food Styling/Sheryl Julian And Catherine Smart; Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Lisa Zwirn
Globe Correspondent / October 20, 2010

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Serves 6

Soak the beans in plenty of water for a few hours or up to 8 hours before cooking, which cuts the cooking time. Or skip the soaking and simmer them longer until they’re tender. One pound of small white beans equals about 4 cans (15 ounces each).

1 pound dried small white beans
1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 can (15 ounces) whole tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup cooked bell peppers and mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cooked pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. In a stock pot over high heat, combine the soaked or unsoaked beans with enough cold water to cover them by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 1 to 2 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender.

2. In a large flameproof casserole, render the bacon, turning often, until it is golden and crisp. Use tongs to transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.

3. Add the onion and carrot to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

4. Stir in the thyme, tomatoes and their juices, and salt. Turn the heat to high. Break up tomatoes with the edge of a kitchen spoon. Add the bell pepper mixture and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Add the beans, cover the pot loosely, and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Stir in the pork and bacon and cook 5 minutes more. (Total simmering time is 30 minutes.) The ragout should be moist but not soupy. Add water, 1/4 cup at a time, if necessary. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with parsley. Lisa Zwirn