Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Braised White Beans

This is the second recipe I made from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. This recipe is perfect for a light lunch or as a side dish. It’s simply white beans cooked in olive oil over low heat, with some Parmesan, rosemary, thyme and garlic for flavour. The beans get crunchy on the outside and are soft on the inside, though mine didn’t turn out as plump as those described in the book. I used the tip of a piece of Parmesan instead of the rind, and on the last day of serving the beans, I ate it – it was simply the best. I prefer the beans warm, so I didn’t let them cool before eating them, and I probably should have put in the herbs and garlic earlier. This makes 4 small servings (or 2 big ones if they are eaten as lunch).

1 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 small nub of Parmesan cheese rind (about the size of half a thumb)
3 cups olive oil (mild to peppery, not fruity)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain the beans. Pour the beans into a large saucepan along with the Parmesan cheese rind. Cover the beans with the oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to bubble, turn the stove to its lowest possible setting. Allow the beans to simmer, with only the occasional bubble rising to the surface, until they are soft and tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Throw the garlic, rosemary and thyme into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper and stir everything in. Grab a spoon full of beans, drain the oil from the spoon, taste the beans, and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the herbs to mingle with the beans as the oil cools down. Allow the beans and oil to fully cool before you eat them, about 1 hour (I didn’t do this, and I stand by my choice). When you serve the beans, drain them from the oil. Reserve the oil and store any uneaten beans in the oil in the refrigerator. (If you want them warm, just warm up the saucepan full of oil again.)

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