Cooking beans in a cast iron dutch oven is about as nostalgic as a person can get when thinking about firing up the dutch oven in the wilderness. Sometimes though, you just aren’t in the mood for plain old pinto beans.
This cajun style white beans and tasso recipe ought to get you there.
I’m a West Texan, so I’m about as close to an authority on slow cooked pinto beans as you can get, but secretly, my favorite bean is a cannellini bean (white kidney beans).
Cannellini beans are super-creamy and take on the flavor of just about anything you cook with them.
In this case, I chose cajun flavors. The spicy tasso combined with the cajun/creole trinity (onion, celery, and bell pepper), give that traditional Louisiana kick.
You can also use canned cannellini beans as opposed to dried. Two 15 oz. cans are about the same as one pound of dried beans. Dried are far better though since they’ll get the opportunity to absorb the flavors in the slower cook.
If you absolutely have to, you can use some other white bean. I recommend the cannellini beans though. If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, you can get them on Amazon.
This recipe for white beans and tasso is pretty simple. The main thing to keep in mind is to add salt at the end of the cooking process instead of the beginning. There is salt in the tasso and any more might make the beans seize up while you’re cooking.
Once the beans are soft, you ought to be fine. Salt away, keeping in mind that as the liquid evaporates from the beans, it will concentrate the saltiness.
Finally, if you like creamier broth with your beans, about five minutes before your beans are done, just smash a few beans up against the side of the pot and stir them back in.
Explore more dutch oven camping recipes.
White Beans and Tasso
- 1 lb. Dried cannellini beans
- 1 lb. Tasso ham – (diced small)
- 1 tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 small Yellow onion – (diced)
- 2 Celery sticks – (diced)
- 1 Bell pepper – (diced small)
- 1 tbs. Minced garlic
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 tsp. Dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. Black pepper
- 6 cups Water
- 1 tsp. Morton's Kosher Salt
Before You Leave Home
- Dice tasso into 1/2 inch cubes. Store in a zip-top bag.
- Dice onion and store in a zip-top bag.
- Dice celery and bell pepper and store together in a zip-top bag.
The Night Before at the Campsite
- Open dried cannellini beans and sort out any stones or grit.
- Put into a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water.
- Cover with a lid, plastic wrap, or tin foil over night.
Ready to Cook
- Drain water from cannellini beans and rinse. Add 6 cups of water back in (note that its best to use bottled or filtered water. Campground tap-water can taste funky).
- Set your dutch oven up for frying. 14 hot briquettes underneath, with none on top.
- Let your dutch oven heat up until a drop of water sizzles and pops when dropped on it. Add your cooking oil and onions. Cook for 5 minutes, until translucent.
- Add chopped celery and bell pepper. Cook an additional 5 minutes until all ingredients are soft.
- Add minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme and black pepper. Cook an additional one minute.
- Add beans and water. Cover and bring to a low simmer and maintain for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Stir whenever you have to add charcoal. Remember, your coals will need to be replaced every twenty minutes or so. To maintain at a simmer, you'll need 6-8 briquettes underneath, depending on weather conditions.
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