Via Wikimedia commons, Author Bea. miau
Via Wikimedia commons, Author Bea. miau
Regular readers may have noticed me mutter ambivalently about the slow cooker. A few months (maybe even 5 or 6) ago I purchased a 2-quart slow cooker with the intention of trying to pull together some meals on days when my commitments started late in the day. Alas, perhaps I had unsuitable recipes, the 2-quart size was too small, or it really was just designed for meat, but multiple attempts were flops. Unbeautiful, not very tasty flops. Having worked out of small kitchens for many years, my unofficial policy has been to send large items infrequently used elsewhere quickly. It was beginning to look like the Crockpot was going to the Salvation Army.

However, I persisted. The slow cooker has finally found its niche in my kitchen. I’m going to keep it. The slow cooker does a lovely job of cooking 1/2 lb (or 500 grams) of dried beans. It’s very forgiving, and you get a lovely texture. The recipe below is a fairly easy one great for cold weather, but you can follow the same framework with other seasoning and beans.

Crockpot White Beans with Mushrooms

1/2 lb white beans (such as navy beans)
2 T olive oil
1 t dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb mushrooms, cut in quarters
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: parmesan cheese and lemon juice

Soak the beans for at least 6 hours. Rinse, and cover generously with water. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on high for 6-8 hours. Season with salt, pepper, parmesan, and lemon juice as desired.

Serve over pasta, rice, or polenta. Feel free to add some lightly cooked greens, too.