Friday, January 23, 2015

warm white beans

adapted from "Cassoulet" in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

serves 4-6
time: 40 minutes

1/2 onion (or one small onion), finely minced
2 Tbsp butter
2 carrots, finely diced or shredded
2 cans white beans, cannelloni or navy
1.5 qt. (approximately) chicken stock
6-8 oz.  cooked white meat, shredded or minced (chicken breast, chicken sausage, or pork)
salt and pepper to taste
garlic 3 cloves if fresh, 1 Tbsp if minced and pickled, 2 tsp if powdered
1 bay leaf (optional)

For chili flavor:
3 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
cayenne or other hot pepper to taste

For cassoulet flavor:
3 Tbsp herbes de Provence (the important flavors here are rosemary and lavender if you don't have the mix, use rosemary and thyme)
2-3 sage leaves, snipped to shreds (optional)

Do all the cooking in the same vessel. I use a cast iron pot, but a stock pot will do.

Melt the butter over a low flame and sauté the onions until soft but not brown, adding carrots when the onions are nearly soft. If you're using freshly pressed garlic, add it just after the carrots.  On the low flame, this step should take about 10 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock (some water or dry white wine can be used as well), and turn up the flame to achieve a simmer.

Add the canned/cooked beans, the meat, and the herbs and spices.

Simmer until everything is warmed through and the beans have started to lose their structural integrity. Taste and add more spices, if desired.

Serve with crusty bread or crackers. Sour cream and green onion make a nice garnish for the chili flavor. Tastes great the second day.

Note: If you're starting with dried beans, the rest of these ingredients will stand up to cooking along with the beans. I've done it that way in the masonry oven. 

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