Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Bean For All Seasons

And that would be the cannelloni or white kidney bean.

I once had a bad experience with dried lentils. I soaked them overnight and the next morning they were covered in green fuzz! Now I stick to canned cannellonis (which are not lentils; I know that.) Trader Joe's 79 cents a can; supermarket $1.29 for the same size can.

I like to make this quick winter soup for lunch --melt a teaspoon of bacon fat in a heavy pot. Add a couple of slices of red onion, chopped, and a chopped garlic clove and a dash of smoke sauce. Let the onions and garlic cook a bit and then add the can of beans, rinsing out the last bits with water. Let it cook until the beans begin to get soft, then take a potato masher and make the soup thicker. Serve with black pepper to taste. Serves two.

Then, in Bon Appetit I ran across these two very different recipes

4 cups cooked white beans
1 1/2 6-oz. cans tuna, packed in olive oil, broken into chunks
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put the beans in a large bowl, add the tuna and onion, drizzle with oil, chill and serve. Said to serve four but I wouldn't want to eat that much of it!


1 lb. dried beans (good luck!)
8 cups room-temperature water
2 T olive oil
1 large head of garlic, unpeeled; top 1/2 in. cut off to expose cloves
1 large, fresh sage sprig
1/4 cup black peppercorns

The day before you want to make the dish, soak the beans in 6 cups of water overnight.
Drain them the next day and put them in a big, heavy pot. Add the water, olive oil, garlic, sage and peppers. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and let softly simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Use a slotted spoon to put the beans in a serving bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. (Mag says to discard all of the other stuff, but don't be too quick to do that. The broth alone sounds good...)

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