Thursday, June 18, 2009

White Beans

White beans are in my menu rotation every 4th week. I make a whole crock pot full, over night, and in the morning they're ready to be divided up into neat 2 c. portions for the freezer, and turned into some of our favorite meals.
Like Chicken White Bean Chili. Jennifer has a great recipe. Here's how I do it, give or take: 4c cooked navy beans, 1 large onion chopped, 1 large can chopped green chiles, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 2c cooked chicken, chopped, 1T. cumin, 1t. California chile powder, 1t. smoked paprika, 1/2t. crushed red pepper, 1t. oregano, salt and pepper to taste, chicken broth just to the top of everything, cook in the crock pot low heat 8hrs. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, cornbread. Of course this is another recipe I double (at least) and freeze.

White Stripes Bean Salad. (Not quite Salad Nicoise) This is what we're having for supper tonight. Make the dressing first. Whisk together 3/4c. olive oil, 1/2c. lemon juice, 1/4c. honey, 1 minced shallot, 1 minced garlic clove, 2T. minced basil, 1T. minced thyme, 2t. minced oregano, 1t. dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover a flattish serving dish with washed, torn lettuce (or arugula or watercress if little children won't fuss), tossed with 1/4c. of the dressing, then make "stripes" of the rest of the ingredients, nestled in the greens. 4c. white beans, 2 can solid tuna, 1 red onion, sliced, 1/2c. black olives, 3 medium tomatoes cut in eighths (or cherry tomatoes), 6 hard boiled eggs chilled and cut in quarters, 1lb new potatoes, cooked and tossed with 1/4c. of the dressing and chilled(or use a pasta, like bow-ties). Drizzle the rest of the dressing over everything, and sprinkle 2T. capers over it all. Pretend you're French. Sit at a little ironwork table and read a fashion magazine while eating this salad.
It seems like a lot of work for a salad, but you don't need to do anything else for supper, except maybe put out a baguette you biked home with from the bakery, and some wine. And you can do everything in advance. In fact, the cooking stuff you HAVE to do in advance, so it'll all chill, and the chopping you might as well do while you're cooking, so by the time supper comes around it's as easy as anything to compose your lovely salad, sit down to your lovely table, and enjoy your lovely self.

White Bean Dip. In the bowl of your food processor dump 2c. white beans, 1 crushed garlic clove, the juice of 1 lemon, salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste (3 T. maybe to start). Process til it's as smooth as you want. You can easily change the flavor up with fresh herbs or roasted red peppers. Thin as wanted with reserved bean liquor or water.

Cassoulet. I've only made once the authentic way- it was delicious, but also about $40, and thus way out of my price range for a single supper, and a lot of work, and thus out of my range as the mother of three young children. I mostly cook by instinct and memory now. But it was delicious, so if you've the inclination, or a cheap source for goose or duck, this is a mouth-watering recipe and article. I do love Saveur magazine!

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