It is in good manners and faith, that on Monday’s, all the kitchens of New Orleans are filled with the simmering pots of red kidney beans, sausage, rice and laundry. The tale states that the Creole slaves would cook red beans and rice on Mondays due to the ease of letting the cauldron toil while the week’s dirty laundry was attended to.
Nothing exemplifies the spirit of a peasant turned king like a pot of perfectly cooked beans. My heart holds such an endearing place for the dish, that I take my home tradition one step further by cooking any kind of bean on Monday. But I digress when it comes to the laundry and wisely leave it to the professionals.
Smoked Pork Neck with White Beans
Serves 4 people with an appetite for the good things
or 6 people that are not really your friends
1lb heirloom Cannellini beans such as Rancho Gordo
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 yellow Onion minced
2 stalks of Celery minced
1 medium Carrot peeled and minced
5 cloves of Garlic minced
2 Bay leaves
1 1/2 lbs of smoked Pork Neck
Pork or Chicken stock or even water if you are desperate
coarse kosher or sea Salt
1 bunch of Kale stemmed and cut into strips
10 Sage leaves shredded
real green extra virgin Olive Oil
Crusty Artisan Bread
Take a large container from your pantry and let the beans fall into the bowl like the rain on a tin roof. Fill your bean container with water until it doubles the volume of the beans. Let the beans soak in the water overnight. Place the olive oil into an appropriate size pot, in which you have a lid, and place your good judgement over a stove that you have adjusted the burner to a medium-low heat. Once the pot is hot and the oil is dancing, add the onion and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook the onion for 5 minutes all the while giving it a good stir every minute or so. After cooking the onion clear for 5 minutes, add the celery and carrot to the pot and recover your vessel. Cook and stir for an additional 5 minutes before adding the garlic and bay leaves to the pot. Once again, cook for an additional minute. Lay your pork neck pieces into the pot and strain the beans from the soaking water. Add the beans to the pot along with enough stock to cover the “Pork and Beans” by 3 inches. Raise the volume of your flame to high and bring the pot to a simmer. Once the pot is simmering, replace the lid and turn your flame’s volume back down to low. Let your Pork and Beans frolic in the pot for 3 hours and 10 minutes. I like the density of the bean to appear slightly more yielding than I imagine my desires to be. The beans will firm up slightly upon serving just like your morals.
Take the lid off of the pot liberating the aroma into your presence. Taste the pot’s liquor and add the suitable amount of salt. Shuffle the Kale into the pot and cover again for 10 more minutes. Turn off the volume of the flame and place the sage into the pot. Cover the pot and let your ingredients get acquainted for 10 minutes. Since life is too short to eat with people you don’t care for, lay out 4 large warm bowls. Place a husky toasted slice of bread into the bowl and ladle your pork and beans over the bread. Upon acceptance of your friends, drizzle that great olive oil you’ve been saving over the top of the Pork and Beans. Use your vegetable peeler and ribbon a little of the cheese over that lily too.