The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Recipe: NYT’s Slow cooked beans

February 7, 2011 ,

This recipe from the New York Time Health section caught my eye on Friday when I was attempting to distract myself from reality for a bit. I checked the weekend weather and it seemed perfect for staying in and roasting a big pot of beans.

Waking up to sun streaming through my curtains was a surprise but it turns out I could not be deterred. My slight hangover helped. I had big plans to go to Union Market and grab some fancy kale but because it’s only a block away, I went to Key Food’s instead. And what they had at Key Foods was collard greens, not kale. Eh, a hardy green in a hardy green – especially when it’s cooking for 3+ hours. I’m sure a purist would say otherwise, but I am only a purist when it suits me and this was not one of those times.

The recipe itself was pretty easy. After I got to chopping, I was a little deterred by how many greens there were. The picture from the Shulman recipe doesn’t look too green heavy but yet, one bunch of kale is a shit ton of kale. I know it cooks down but still. The original recipe was also a bit soupy which caused the breadcrumbs to soak in a bit. I had to add almost 2 cups of breadcrumbs before getting the necessary crunchy topping. To make it extra healthy I made multigrain breadcrumbs by toasting a few slices and throwing them in the food processor. Below is the original recipe with my notes.

1 bunch kale, stemmed and washed in two changes of water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 2/3 cups white beans (3/4 pound) or dried lima beans, picked over and soaked for at least four hours and drained
1 6-ounce can tomato paste, dissolved in 1 cup water
3 cups additional water (start with 2 ½ cups and add more 2 hours in if necessary.)
A bouquet garni consisting of 4 parsley sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs and a bay leaf (I had some frozen mixed herbs in the freezer. I threw in 2 ice cubes worth.)
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
Salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs (2 cups)

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the kale. Blanch for two minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain, squeeze out water and cut into ribbons. Set aside. (This step is optional. I skipped it.)

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large ovenproof casserole. Add the onion, carrots and celery.

Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the dissolved tomato paste, and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the drained beans, the remaining water, the bouquet garni, herbes de Provence and salt and pepper.. Stir in the kale, bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Bake three hours until the beans are tender and creamy. Taste and adjust salt. (I turned up the heat the last thirty minutes with hopes of absorbing some of the liquid.)

4. Mix together the remaining olive oil and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the beans, and continue to bake another 30 minutes to an hour until the bread crumbs are lightly browned. (I had to cook mine for the full extra hour.) Remove from the heat and serve; or allow to cool slightly and serve.


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