Italian Cannellini Beans with Braised Pork Shoulder & Bitter Greens

- LCBO Food & Drink - Holiday 2016


      You could call this an easy cassoulet, but it is much better than that. Make sure you get the Italian cannellini beans as they have excellent taste and texture. In a pinch you can use white kidney beans, but I find they take longer to cook. I have also used navy beans, which are not Italian but have lots of flavour, too. Using a mixture of bitter greens gives a real oomph to the dish.



4 slices lemon, ¼ inch (5 mm) thick,

        seeds removed

6 sprigs rosemary

1 dried red chili pepper

2 lbs (1 kg) pork shoulder, cut in

        approximately 2 inch (5 cm) cubes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh rosemary

3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil

2 cups (500 mL) chopped onions

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped garlic

1 tbsp (15 mL) slivered fresh sage leaves

2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock

8 cups (2 L) sliced bitter greens such as dandelion, arugula, kale or mustard greens



Cover beans with water by 2 inches (5 cm) and soak overnight. Drain and rinse. 


Place in a pot and cover with 2 inches (5 cm) fresh water. Add lemon slices, rosemary sprigs

and dried chili. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until beans are mostly softened but still have some bite. They will continue cooking with the pork. Drain, reserving beans and cooking liquid separately. Remove and discard lemon slices, rosemary and chili. 


Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C). 


Season pork with salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Heat oil in a large ovenproof casserole. Working in batches, sear pork 1 to 2 minutes per side or until browned. Remove to a plate and reserve. Remove all but 2 tbsp (30 mL) fat from pan. Reduce heat to medium and add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and sage and continue to cook until garlic is softened, about 1 more minute. Add stock and 1½ cups (375 mL) of reserved bean cooking liquid and bring to boil. Stir in pork and beans. Bring back to boil and cover. 

5 Place in oven and bake, covered, for 2½ to 3 hours or until pork is tender and beans are very soft. Raise heat to 350°F (180°C). Stir in sliced greens. Uncover and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until greens are softened.


Serves 6