Cajun-style Whipple Bean Stew

15 minutes prep 2 hours active cooking 2 hours + 15 minutes total time
Makes 8-10 servings (about 10 cups)

I grew up eating beans...

because my family was poor, but now I eat beans because they’re delicious, nutritious, and really easy to fancy-up. They’re also so simple to grow (fun fact: you can plant pretty much any store-bought dry bean and it’ll make more). I grew these heirloom Whipple beans in my Portland garden, but I only planted six or so of them, which yielded about a pint of dry beans. Needless to say, they’re precious little treasures to me, almost too pretty to eat. Almost. I wanted to cook them fairly simply to let them really shine, but I also had some peppers to use up and a random spicy sausage in the freezer, so here we are. Cajun country. Serve this with rice, cornbread, and hot sauce to make it a complete meal. 

Note: Ignore the old-fashioned “rule” that dry beans have to be soaked overnight before cooking. First of all, pressure cookers have proven this a myth, but more importantly, soaking just swells the beans with water — no flavor! Another myth to dump: that cooking beans in salted water makes them tough. Nope! Just don’t cook them in anything acidic (like tomato sauce) if you want to keep them tender.

~ Heather Arndt Anderson, award-winning writer on food, history, and plants

What You'll Need


For the shopping list

  • 1 teaspoon bacon fat or cooking oil
  • 1/4 lb Andouille (or other smoky sausage link), diced
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus more as needed)
  • 2 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

From our shop

2 teaspoon of  Smoked Pimentón Paprika
$10.00– Extremadura - Spain
2 teaspoons of  Toasted Onion Powder
$10.00– Vĩnh Phúc - Vietnam
2 teaspoons, ground of  Aranya Peppercorns
$12.00– Oakland - California
Out of stock

2 cups (1 pound), dry of  
4 cups of  Chicken Broth
$9.00– Artes - Spain
28oz can of  Crushed Tomatoes
$7.00– Yolo Valley - California
2 tablespoons of  Extra Secco
$24.00– Amurria - Spain


From the kitchen

  • Dutch oven, or similarly deep, heavy-bottomed pot
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons

What you'll have to do

Step 1 — Assemble the ingredients.

Step 2 – Heat 1 tablespoon bacon fat or oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Cook the diced Andouille until the fat starts to render, about 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and peppers and saute until they start to become glossy, another 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp sweet paprika, 2 tsp onion powder, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tsp crushed dried thyme, and 3 bay leaves and stir to coat.

Step 3 — Add 2 cups dry beans, 4 cups water, 4 cups chicken stock and 2 tsp salt, then increase the heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

Step 4 — Stir in the tomatoes and 2 tbsp vermouth (if using). Simmer until warmed through, then add salt and more cayenne as needed according to your taste. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.

Recipe and images courtesy of Heather Arndt Anderson

Heather Arndt Anderson is an award-winning writer on food, history, and plants. She’s the author of four books on culinary history and writes a weekly newsletter for Oregon Public Broadcasting about growing, foraging, cooking, and eating food in the Pacific Northwest. Subscribe to the Superabundant newsletter here.

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