I've realized that if I'm ever to survive a week on my own without Oliver then I need to master a few of his many bean recipes. After we posted the black/pinto bean recipe I said I wanted to follow it and try for myself. But Oliver insisted that we do not eat the same beans two weeks in a row and I was going to have to try another. So white beans it is!
Unlike the black beans, the white beans are not vegetarian. Ham hocks are used for flavor. Like the black beans, I soaked them all day before cooking them. Oliver also had me toss in a bit of tasso he'd picked up in Louisiana. I think two meats are redundant and make the meal less healthy - but he is the chef so I didn't argue.
After the beans soaked for 8 hours I drained the water and placed them in our big pot along with some ham hocks from YDFM. I then covered the beans with several inches of boiling water and set the burner on high. After a few minutes of boil I reduced the heat and left the pot to simmer while I prepared the "holy trinity" of celery, green pepper and onion. They were diced*, browned in our cast iron and added to the pot. Another hour of simmering (to reduce the liquid and break up the beans) and I was done!
I had planned to eat the beans solo - but according to Oliver white beans are always eaten with rice. (Apparently I have even more to learn then I suspected). So for lunch the beans were served over rice, with a sprinkle of parsley and a bit of homemade hot pepper vinegar.
Successful completion of my 3rd cooking lesson! Hooray! Anyone have requests or suggestions for the next one? I'm not sure where to go from here.
*So far, using the giant knife for chopping is my only cooking complaint (read: paralyzing fear). I'm terrified of chopping off a knuckle. But I'm keeping at it with faith because of the old "practice makes perfect" adage.