Chef John Folse's White or Red Beans & Ham

Prep Time: 1 1/2 Hours
Yields: 8–10 Servings

Comment: Beans with ham and sausage have been cooking in the pots in South Louisiana for 300 years. People of all walks of life and in every area, from the bayous to New Orleans , found beans to be the basis of a delicious and satisfying meal. You may freeze any leftover beans for later use.

1 pound dried red kidney or white great northern beans 
1/2 cup shortening or bacon drippings
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery 
1/2 cup diced bell peppers 
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 cups sliced green onions
2 cups diced smoked ham
6 (3-inch) links smoked sausage 
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and Louisiana hot sauce to taste

Method: Soak beans overnight in cold water. This will help soften outer shell and shorten cooking time. Drain beans and rinse in cold water. In a 4-quart stockpot, melt shortening or bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, 1 cup green onions and ham for 5–10 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Stir in sausage and beans. Cook 2–3 minutes, then pour in enough cold water to cover beans by 2 inches. Bring to a rolling boil and allow to cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook 1 hour or until beans are tender. Stir occasionally, as beans will settle to bottom of pot as they cook. Stir in chopped parsley and remaining green onions. Season with salt and hot sauce. Using a metal spoon, mash approximately a third of the beans against side of pot to create a creaming effect. Once beans are tender and creamy, they are ready to be served. For maximum flavor, this dish should be cooked 1 day before serving.