May 19, 2010

White beans & Veggie Pot

I pulled this recipe together last week on a whim. I wanted to do something with dried beans, as I need to start working through my growing pantry. I can't help getting a little bag of some new ingredient when I'm in the bulk section of my local natural grocer. Needless to say my beans are starting to pile up.

In the morning I soaked a bowl of them, with the intent of making myself use them that night. But when I got home tired, and thinking about an evening appointment that night, I was pretty ready to order pizza instead of deal with the beans.

Lacking any great sense of culinary creativity I decided to make a vegetable pot of sorts, with beans. Basically I pulled out anything I had left in the fridge from the week: half a potato, a random bell pepper, the last few stalks of get the idea. By using the dutch oven I was able to pour everything in the pot and bake it while we were away at the appointment. Though I wouldn't really recommend leaving the oven unattended - it was well worth coming home to a hot-cooked dinner.

If your ever in a pinch, and you have some dried beans you need to use, let this recipe be your guide. Many veggie combinations would do, you could substitute the white beans for another variety, or use this as a lovely side dish for a bit of light fish or chicken.

White beans & Veggie pot

1 cup Great Northern White Beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 potato, washed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup spinach
3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups broth, either chicken or vegetable
salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans in water all day.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain the beans. Heat oil in a dutch oven and slightly brown the garlic. Add onions and stir until they start getting soft. Then add potatoes, bell pepper, celery and greens and stir until thoroughly mixed and coated. Add the beans and stir in broth.

Place the lid on the dutch oven and bake for 1.5 hours. Pull out of the oven and stir in salt and pepper to taste. This dish is very versatile and I could see adding more veggies (just be aware of the cooking liquid to make sure nothing burns while it is baking), or you could add pancetta or something similar once the beans are finished baking.

Stats: Serves 4
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes, with all day soaking. Only 15 minutes of active time.
Seasonal Ingredients: The veggies I used were the ones left in the fridge at the end of the week. Everything was from the local market except the bell pepper, which is from Mexico, but I couldn’t resist its beautiful bright orange color.

happy cooking,

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