Long gone are the days of the old smokehouse or meathouse. The smokehouse was where we'd store almost everything we needed for the winter, including sausages, hams, salt pork and even Mom's jars of preserves.
The meathouse is still here, even though it's leaning to the right and needs to be removed and the only thing inside is, I don't know because I don't have the nerve to open the door.
This stew reminds me of something Mom or my grandmother would have put on the stove on a busy day and let simmer all morning. Good Soul Food served with a big skillet of cornbread. The more you reheat the better it gets.
I'm linking to Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods with this wonderful stew. Check it out.
White Bean, Ham and Sausage Stew
1 cup dried white beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound smoked ham, diced
1/2 cup sliced smoked sausage
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
Two 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
3 cups sliced mushrooms (use white and/or a combination of wild mushrooms)
1. Soak the beans overnight, covered with water; drain.
2. In a heavy 6-quart Dutch oven or cast-iron pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, until it becomes dark brown (like chocolate), for 20 to 25 minutes. (Do not rush the process and do not stop stirring or the roux will burn.)
3. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery, salt thyme, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Cook stirring for 5 minutes.
4. Add ham and sausage and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the ham and sausage begin to cook. Stir in the beans and garlic. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. If the stew becomes too thick, stir in more broth (Water if you don't have broth).
5. Add the mushrooms. Cook for 30 minutes longer.