For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.
This is a great way to both use up leftover meat from the past week and also provide for built-in sustenance around the house on busy weekends.
And as long as your slow-cooker has a WARM setting, you don’t even have to go to the trouble of heating up individual bowls as it gets raided!
Also note that you can use pretty much any kind of meat in this dish, although pork products and cured meats do especially well, like ham or bacon. In addition, you don’t have to use already-cooked meat added in the last stage, either–you can always throw raw meat right in with the dry beans at the beginning and let it all cook together for several hours.
(It’s just a good way to get rid of leftovers is all, so that’s why I used cooked pork tenderloin for this post, which was frozen leftovers from my Sweet and Sour Pork Medallions, in case you’re wondering.)
I begin this on a Saturday morning shortly after I get up. That way, it’s got the whole weekend to be munched on, because it does make quite a bit of stew. It does, however, freeze beautifully if you’d rather serve it one day and then freeze the rest for a later day.
First, rinse the contents of a 20-ounce package of dry beans and remove any hull shards or other objects if necessary. I like to use 15-bean mix, but you can just as easily prepare this with any variety of dried beans.
Place the washed beans in the bottom of a 4-quart slow-cooker. Chop 1 yellow onion, 1 celery stalk and 1 apple into bite-sized pieces. Add vegetables to Crock Pot.
(Note: depending on the variety of meat you use, you can always swap out the apple for something more fitting, like a turnip with bacon or parsnips with cubed ham, etc.)
Cover with 1 container (32 ounces) vegetable stock. (You can substitute three 14-ounce cans of broth for the stock if you want. I just like the weight of the stock better.)
Empty 1 (15-ounce) can stewed, sliced tomatoes (undrained) into slow cooker and add about 3 cups water (or enough to amply cover all vegetables and beans.) Sprinkle 2 teaspoons seasoning salt and 2 teaspoons garlic powder over the ingredients and stir well.
Cover slow cooker and set on HIGH setting. Cook 6-7 hours at high heat or until beans begin to tenderize.
Reduce heat to WARM setting and add 1 lb. thawed, cooked pork tenderloin cubes or other pre-cooked meat.
Stir well, replace lid, and leave on warm heat for 1 ADDITIONAL HOUR or until meat is thoroughly heated. Serve with either corn bread or Irish soda bread and butter.
Refrigerate leftovers overnight and replace over WARM setting again on Sunday morning, adding more liquid if necessary. Oh, and by the way–this stew is low-fat, high-fiber and high-protein! You can’t ask for a healthier trifecta!