My absolute favorite legume next to black eyed peas, butter beans are the only beans I cook without a ham bone or ham hock. None is required -- for slow cooked butter beans make their own irresistibly thick gravy.
But like all beans and peas, butter beans do need some type of pork fat to take the taste to soaring heights. I happen to use bacon. And ham. And last night a left over pork chop just because. And I have used the wonderfully Cajun andouille sausage before. I haven't actually written out this recipe in exact measurements, but just loosen up and just go with it a little bit, you're sure to make the best butter beans ever.
One package bacon, all fried and chopped into small pieces and grease retained.
One package of butter beans.
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large bell pepper, I used red last night, chopped fine
About 4 to 5 oz. of ham if you have it, chopped
About 5 generous shakes of Zatarain's Cajun Spice
Big pinch of marjaram
A little celery salt and/or a tablespoon of chopped celery leaves
Bigger pinch or two of poultry seasoning
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Cayenne pepper, three or four shakes
3 bay leaves
About two generous teaspoons Lowry's Seasoned Salt
2 tsp black pepper
In crock pot cover beans with water (should be an inch or little more water over beans) Add a beer. Add about a tablespoon of bacon drippings. Add all other ingredients except for last two, set crock pot to high and cover. Check on periodically to make sure there is enough liquid. If not, add a little more water or beer.
Cook about three hours. Uncover and stir in Lowry's and black pepper. Cover and turn to low for a couple of more hours until beans are very tender and liquid has cooked down a bit. DON'T overdo it. You don't want to cook them to mush, they need to retain some texture.
Take out the bay leaves and let cool a little to thicken.
Now have at it.
OMG - It's like eating dessert, isn't it???
Suggested listening: Kevin Fowler's 'Butterbean'