July 8, 2012

Slow Cook Cannellini Beans

REQUIRES 24 HOUR SOAKING, CHEESECLOTH AND 2 HOUR COOK TIME ...Wait!  Don’t go.  I know it looks daunting, but it’s fun and surprisingly easy to make a big pot of beans on a Sunday afternoon, especially when it will yield a multitude of meals.  There are so many things you can do with a pot of flavorful beans.  Think creamy beans on crunchy toast topped with a poached egg and fresh torn basil.  Imagine beans smashed into hot pasta, drizzled with olive oil and showered in a handful of fresh parsley.  How about beans blended into a creamy dip for chips and crudités?  Beans on rice, beans under shrimp, beans in soup, beans on a boat!  As for the 24 hour soaking? Take it from me, it’s necessary in order to rid the beans of their oligosaccharides, the stuff of gastrointestinal distress.  And even yours truly usually skips over recipes that include cheesecloth because I’m too lazy to locate and purchase any, but it’s really no big deal to go to your grocer’s sauce isle, look up and find a bag of it which will probably last you the rest of your life.  Now if only I could commit to buying parchment paper.

So, yes, beans….soak ‘em on Saturday, throw ‘em in some water with a sack of flavor on Sunday and in a few hours you’ll have a pot of deliciously creamy beans unlike any of the canned varieties you have ever tasted.  Get to slow cookin’.

Makes about 10-12 servings

3 cups dried cannellini beans
6 cups water
1 stalk of celery (optional, but delicious)
1 carrot (optional, but delicious)
1 tied cheesecloth satchel* filled with a cup worth of “odds and ends” (see below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoons coarse salt, or more to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Odds and Ends (use all or AT LEAST 3 from this list, garlic and onion being the most important):
2 cloves garlic
1 handful parsley with stems
1 small onion, cut in half
2 bay leafs
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 cheese rind from parmesan or pecorino
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh oregano
1 fennel stalk with fronds

*To make a cheesecloth satchel, use a piece big enough to hold all the “odds and ends” , gather the ends of the cheesecloth and tie them up tight so none of the ingredients fall out during cooking.

Rinse the beans thoroughly and keep an eye out for any rocks or debris to remove. Submerge the dried beans in water and soak them for a full 24 hours in the refrigerator, changing out the old water for new water about halfway through the soaking period.  Drain the beans, place them in a large pot on the stove top, adding in the 6 cups of fresh water and all the remaining ingredients over medium high heat.  Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and place a lid on the pot.  Cook for about 2 hours or until 5-6 beans, when tasted, are at a creamy consistency.  Store beans in the fridge for up to 3 days, then transfer to the freezer.

No comments:

Post a Comment