Slow-Cooker Pork & Beans


A super-simple recipe that is a delicious staple on our menu plan.  The first time I made this my husband was leery.  He was concerned because he's not a big fan of stew {he doesn't think it fills him up although it does}, he isn't crazy about beans, and he's not a big kielbasa fan {I am and love incorporating it}.  So, I assured him that all we can do is give it a try.


He loved it.

He loved the flavors, he loved that it filled him up, he loved that the beans stayed their shape but were creamy and not at all dry, and he loved the way the kielbasa stayed firm on the outside {from browning it first} and creamy and delicious on the inside. 

He deemed this recipe a winner!


Slow-Cooker Pork & Beans
source: Lightly adapted from a recipe by America's Test Kitchen

2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained
1-2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1  28oz. can diced tomatoes
3 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

Drain the beans and add them to the slow-cooker.  Season the ribs with salt and pepper and place on top of the beans, so they are spread out along the bottom of the cooker.

Heat the 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add half the kielbasa and brown on both cut sides.  Remove.  Add 2 more teaspoons oil, if needed, and brown the other half of kielbasa.  Remove.  Place all browned kielbasa in the slow-cooker on top of the pork ribs.  Pour chicken broth over all.

Add the onions and a pinch of salt and pepper to the hot pan.  Cook, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic, thyme and fennel seed.  Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste, stirring and scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan until paste is heated, about 40 seconds.  Add the tomatoes with their juices and stir all together.  Pour into the slow-cooker.  Add the bay leaves to the slow-cooker sauce, cover with lid, and cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

**because it's just the 2 of us, I frequently cut down the amount of meat in this recipe.  It works well and is nice and saucy.**

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