Recipe redux: just your basic white beans and tomatoes

Apparently it’s a good thing I signed up for Recipe Redux because it’s the only thing getting me into gear to post at all for the past few months! Much of my “new” activity on the cooking front lately has been using our new dehydrator to make backpacking meals. I actually thought that would be an interesting topic for a blog post or two, but every time I sit down to write, I’m pretty “meh” about the results. I think I’ll need to do quite a bit more dehydrating before I can write something informative! And with that little aside, back to the topic at hand….

April’s theme was “Treasured Cookware” and to be honest, I was a little stymied at first. The prompt read (in part): “many of us cook with a pan, a wooden spoon or another piece of cookware passed on to us from the kitchens of our favorite relatives. Let’s see what you can cook up with your treasured kitchen tool!”. I actually own very little inherited cookware, thanks to having a very geographically far-flung family.

So instead of focusing on cookware, I decided instead to stretch the theme a bit and do a recipe centered around an ingredient that I first got a taste of in my mother’s kitchen, and that I still love eating today: the humble white bean. When I was little, one of my favorite dishes was a simple white bean and chicken casserole, served over rice. Total comfort food.

Today’s recipe is another simple white bean dish, one adapted from a very classic source, Elizabeth David. I’ve been loving the new(ish) collection of her recipes, Elizabeth David on Vegetables. This dish, an adaptation of her Haricots a la Bretonne, is simple and satisfying, just like that casserole I grew up with.

The original recipe is described as a “wonderful background for eggs”, and that’s how I have most frequently enjoyed it. This particular batch I paired with a bowl of greens and tahini lemon dressing:

One of these days (when I’m cooking for a few more people at once) I’m going to use this as the basis of an alternative version of shahshouka: break a few eggs over the top and bake. Yum.

White Beans with Tomatoes
Adapted from Elizabeth David on Vegetables
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 c. white beans, soaked in water overnight
1 onion, pierced with 1 clove
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 4-6 pieces
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
salt, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (not in the original, but I like the effect, not to mention the B vitamin boost!)

1. Place all ingredients except salt, olive oil, and tomatoes in a medium sized saucepan and just barely cover with water. Cover pot, bring water to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer (still covered) for 50-60 minutes, until beans are tender. Drain off liquid and reserve for later use.

2. Slice the onion (clove removed). Chop the carrot into 1/4″ pieces. In a 12″ cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until it takes on a golden brown color, 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato and carrot and saute for two minutes more. Add 2 tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid and the nutritional yeast, cook for two minutes more. Add the white beans, stir to combine, and cook until the dish is heated through. Remove from heat.

Serve alone, under an egg, over rice or quinoa, or with a piece of crusty bread to sop up the leftover juice.


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