Cooking

Try Something New: Tuscan-Style Beans

What do you do with five pounds of white beans? Start getting creative.

A couple of weeks ago, my local Raley’s supermarket had small white beans on sale for $0.89/lb. I bought five pounds figuring that they’re a pretty versatile bean and I could surely come up with something creative. (Right?) First I made the baked beans that I posted last week, but with four more pounds of white beans sitting in the pantry, it was time to take action.

And that’s when I created these white beans with Tuscan flavors. Because really, how can you go wrong with any of these ingredients?

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small white beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 6 garlic gloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp epazote or oregano
  • 1 ham hock (or in this case, a sort of bacon/ham hybrid from the ghetto smoker)
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 12-15 oil cured olives, chopped *
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Take all ingredients through water and add to the slow cooker. I turned mine on high for an hour just to get the party started, then throttled back to low for the next eight hours.

With about an hour to go, remove the chunk of meat and skim any accumulated fat from the top. Add sun-dried tomatoes, oil cured olives and salt as needed.

Serve as-is or garnish with a dusting of freshly grated parmesan.

Results

The Tiny Kitchen Assistant liked them, but it was my husband’s reaction that surprised me the most. Seconds? Really? Two days later he took the leftovers on a camping trip with friends from work. I’m told that they were a huge campfire hit.

They look more like prunes than your usual plump olives, but they have tons of flavor.

* Why oil cured olives? They have a ton of flavor, much more intense and rich than your usual olives in a jar. I got mine from the supermarket’s olive bar. They cost $10.99/lb, but since I needed so few of them, the total price was less than $1.00.

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2 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    You can make quick work of those beans with a pressure cooker. From dry to ready-to-eat in about 30 minutes, seriously. I love my Russell Hobbs electric pressure cooker http://www.russell-hobbs.com/kitchen.shtml

  2. Alisa says:

    But where’s the fun in that? I want the house to smell like these beans all day long!

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