French Bean Casserole with Pork

French Bean Casserole with Pork

4 cups water
1 pound (2 1/2 cups) dried Great Northern or navy beans
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 pound link sausage, 1-inch pieces
6 slices bacon, 2-inch pieces
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Minced parsley

Heat water and beans to boiling in Dutch oven; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Add enough water to cover beans if necessary. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until almost tender, about 1 1/2 hours (do not boil or beans will burst). Drain, reserving liquid.

Trim fat from pork; cut pork into 3/4-inch cubes. Cook and stir pork, sausage and bacon over medium heat until brown; drain. Place beans, meat mixture, carrots, onions, garlic and bay leaves in ungreased 4-quart bean pot, casserole or Dutch oven.

Add enough water to reserved bean liquid to measure 2 cups.
Mix reserved liquid, tomato paste, salt, thyme, mustard and pepper; pour over beans. Add water to almost cover mixture. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.
Uncover and bake until beans are of desired consistency, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Garnish with parsley.

Yields 8 servings.


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