Saturday, April 11, 2009

Braised White Beans

The garlicky beans, topped off with a mix of herbs, and spooned on toasted Italian bread was amazing. We ate it for dinner with a side of roasted asparagus and it was the perfect light dinner. I also imagine wilting some spinach in the beans would be tasty, or even just eating them in a bowl with a grating of parmesan on top, maybe even browned under the broiler.

  • 2 c. dried cannellini beans (1 lb bag, dried beans)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed with side of knife
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbs dried herbs de provence

Rinse the beans in a colander and transfer to a bowl. Cover with cold water by at least 2 inches and let soak for at least two hours and up to overnight. Drain the beans and transfer them to a large pot (I used a 4.5 qt dutch oven). Add water to cover by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, anywhere between one to two hours (mine took about an hour fifteen). If any foam rises, skim it off. When the beans are tender, turn off heat and add salt. Let the beans sit in their cooking water for 30 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, and drain the beans. In a large pot (I reused the same one), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and oregano and cook for about three minutes until the garlic softens. Stir in the beans and the cooking water. Simmer gently until the beans achieve a creamy consistency. The recipe said this would take about 4 minutes, but it took about ten to get the consistency I wanted. Remove from heat and pluck out the bay leaf. Stir in the herbs de provence and adjust the seasoning-- I found it needed a good bit more salt. Serve with toast points, in a bowl with fresh breadcrumbs, or parmesan, or in a tupperware container as leftovers the next day that just seem to get better and better. from Il Fornio, adapted from A16: Food and Wine; recipe originally published as part of Gourmet's Cookbook Club.

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