Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Death Row Beans

There are certain meals in our home that we esteem beyond all others. We call these dishes our "death row" meals, the ones we would want to eat our last night on earth. Yes, it's a morbid classification. The system, however, has us continually attuned to some of life's essential experiences. This is one of my husband's selections. For me, this dish is a staple I make once or twice a week. I crave these beans. When I'm really hungry and desperate for sustenance, nothing else will do.

Serves 2-4
1 Tbsp light olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 14 oz. can cannellini beans (aka white kidney or tuscan beans), drained and rinsed
6-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 Tbsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped fine (or 1/2 tsp each dried)
1 cup water
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
handful flat-leaf Italian parsley, stems removed, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Peel the garlic clove and smash once under the base of the unopened can of beans. Add the garlic pieces to the oil. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add the beans, tomatoes, herbs and water. Increase the heat to bring the beans to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. The beans should continue to bubble.

Once the liquid has reduced and thickened, turn off the heat and add the extra virgin olive oil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in large bowls with steamed greens, fresh crusty bread, or on their own.

NOTE: If the sauce doesn't thicken, mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon and stir the mash into the rest. This will do the trick. Also, if the beans lose too much water, don't be afraid to add more. They'll be fine.

VARIATION: If you have some bacon or pancetta in the fridge, cut a few slices into small bean-sized pieces and fry them with the oil and garlic until browned before adding the beans. The smoky flavour tastes unbelievably great with the beans.

This will be the first of many posts about beans. There is so much to say about the world's perfect food: debates to weigh in on, stories to share, information to impart. Stay tuned.

Photo: Death Row Beans with steamed kale.


Heather S. said...

I made your Death Row bean recipe today (with a slight variation-- no tomatoes in the house today, so I used kale and roasted red pepper). It's a delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing! You've captured my attention to keep watching your blog.

Kristen Peterson said...

Hi Heather. Kudos to substitutions! Yours sound great. Kale is such a robust green that goes perfectly with the beans and garlic. Red pepper too. Question: Did you cook the kale with the beans, or on its own before adding it? Thanks for reading, cooking and sharing what you learned.

milanese masala said...

Well, now I know what I'm making for dinner tonight. A healthy and hearty meal in only 15 minutes. Cool!

Heather S. said...

I sauteed the Kale and roasted peppers where you called for tomatoes-- both Kale and roasted peppers need just a short time to cook/ wilt, and they picked up the flavor of the garlic.... yum!

PING said...

...i think i have made this 3 times now since I saw you! delish.

Kristen Peterson said...

It is addictive! It's a mainstay. A no-brainer. Glad you like it!