Cooking with beans

April 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Cooking with beans. Contributing chef Bruce Aidells shares a delicious bean casserole recipe.

Basic Rancho Gordo Beans

  • 1 pound White Italian beans (such as Runner Cannellini, Cellini or regular cannellini)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot stick, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • Parma cheese
  • Lemon wedges

Cook two slices of bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and let rest on a paper towel (you'll use it in the next recipe) and in the remaining bacon fat, saute a bay leaf, onions, carrots, garlic and celery until the vegetables are soft.

Add the beans and their soaking water and bring to a hard boil and let it continue for about five minutes. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook until the beans are soft, from an hour to three, depending on the beans.

Salt when the beans are soft, keeping in mind it takes awhile for the beans to absorb the salt.

Serve with grated parmasan cheese and a lemon wedges.

Poor Man's Cassoulet

  • 2 cups of drained leftove beans (from Basic Italian Beans or any other basic bean recipe)
  • 2 rashers bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Butter, well chilled

Mix the beans with the bacon and oregano until well distributed. Spread into the bottom of a casserole. Top evenly with breadcrumb and then with a grater, grate the cold butter over the top of the casserole.

Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until beans are warmed though and topping is golden brown.

The beans and more recipe ideas are availble at www.ranchogordo.com


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