An inexpensive cut of pork becomes rich and tender when braised. Creamy white beans make the dish hearty and satisfying. If you prefer to use an electric slow cooker to prepare this Tuscan-inspired meal, just combine presoaked beans and remaining ingredients in cooker; cover and cook on HIGH for eight hours.
Sort and wash navy beans, and place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand for 8 hours. Drain the beans.
Preheat oven to 275°.
Combine 2 teaspoons sage, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds, and 3 minced garlic cloves. Rub sage mixture over pork. Place pork, navy beans, remaining 1 teaspoon sage, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 5 minced garlic cloves, 4 cups water, and bay leaves in Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 275° for 4 hours or until pork is very tender. Discard bay leaves. Pull pork apart into chunks, and serve with bean mixture.
This is one of our favorite winter meals. I use my own herb blend (sage, rosemary & garlic) and rub the meat the night before, then brown it in the Dutch oven before braising. I also increase the beans to a full pound - I prefer cannelini or even great northerns to navy beans.
I like to make this ahead of time, stir the meat into the beans, and let it sit in the refrigerator at least overnight, so I can skim some of the fat off the top. This sort of dish is always better reheated anyway.
Leftovers, what doesn't get eaten for lunch, freeze well for a future supper.
I love this recipe. However, I always use chicken broth instead of water for cooking it. I also use dried sage and do it in a Crock Pot on low for about 8-9 hours. Really yummy. I think using chicken broth is the key.
I made this recipe with a few changes, based on other reviews. I used 2 1/2 cups water, added 1 tsp dried rosemary, 2 tsp dried sage and left the fennel seeds out. (Don't care for their favor.) I cooked the meal in a crock pot on high. It was ready in 5 hours. Received rave reviews from the friends that I shared it with. We had a tomato salad with the Pork. Delicious!
This is the worst recipe I have ever made from cooking light. It is a simple recipe so I'm pretty sure I did everything right, however I knew I was in trouble when I took it out of the oven and realized it looked like pig slop. Actually, pig slop might look more appealing. But, I was willing to give it a chance figuring it had to taste better than it looked. I was wrong. It had no flavor, no substance and was not pleasing to the palate at all. Even though I had made half the recipe I still had lots of leftovers that I wound up throwing out. I find it ironic this is billed as a budget meal - budget doesn't mean it should be tasteless, and I'm pretty sure making this was a waste of money for me!
I've made this recipe several times and really enjoy it. I will agree that the amount of herbs can be a little overwhelming. The first time, I made it as written. All subsequent times, I used 2 tsp. of sage and added 1 tsp. of chopped fresh rosemary (half in the rub, the other half mixed in with the beans), which balanced out the flavor quite nicely. I enjoy the taste of fennel but those unaccustomed to it may want to decrease that a little as well. I have tried substituting dried herbs for fresh and it just doesn't have the same flavor. If you do sub, make sure you decrease the amounts to compensate for the stronger flavor of dried sage.
I have made this in the oven as well as a crock pot and the oven method, I think, is much better. The crock could do in a pinch, but the texture of the meat and beans is far superior cooked in the oven, so why not save this for a weekend prep and enjoy leftovers throughout the week?
All in all, a great recipe I will continue to make again and again.
One of my family and friends' all-time favorite recipes! The leftovers freeze well, and I usually double the recipe. Good-quality fresh sage is key. I leave out the bay leaves with good results.
For a really special dinner, try with a nice bottle of Sangiovese and roasted winter vegetables as a side.
I really wanted to like this and even got the butcher to provide the right cut for me. But it's really bland as is. I looked at my last container of leftovers today and just chucked it. It is nice to braise a dish like this in cold weather; this just isn't the dish.