Stewed Butter Beans with Smoked Turkey
- 1 pound smoked turkey legs or thighs
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pound dried butter beans, soaked overnight and drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
Using a sharp knife, score the turkey pieces about 1/4-inch deep in several places. Place the turkey in a large soup pot or stockpot and add the chicken broth, Essence, cayenne pepper and bay leaves. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the turkey, covered, until falling-from-the-bones tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones. Tear the meat into bite-size pieces and set aside. Reserve the stock separately.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the onions, celery, green and red bell peppers and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and the thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and 6 cups of the reserved stock (add water if necessary to bring the volume up to 6 cups) and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beans are tender but still firm enough to hold their shape, about 1 1/2 hours. The beans should be moist but not soupy. (If the beans are too soupy by the time they are tender, strain the beans and return the cooking liquid to the fire until reduced to a thick sauce consistency. Return the reduced cooking liquid to the beans.) Stir the reserved turkey meat into the beans and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with the chopped parsley, chives and basil and serve while hot with the Broiled Catfish and Spicy Braised Greens, if desired.
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