By lettercollum - 1 Dec 2020
One good thing the coronavirus has given me is some time. It all felt very stressful in the beginning but now with everything closing down, not having to organise work or rushing here and everywhere, everything has slowed down. I’m also avoiding wall to wall reportage, just listening to enough news to keep up, and thinking of all the things I can get done now that I have some time.
Funny how I want to fill it!
This is the first recipe since last year Halloween!
And here is what we had for dinner last night…..
Beans take time to cook – even if you open a can, they always benefit from a little bathing with the other ingredients.
This recipe is for beans cooked with melted down onion and fennel, cooked until just before they caramelise. I put in a Parmesan rind at the same time and this creates a creamy unctuous side to the whole affair but leave it out if you don’t have one or want a vegan version.
This recipe began as Beans and Greens in my repertoire but it was dark last night when I began to cook. Too late to pick greens but I had some rocket in the fridge that I made into pesto which I drizzled over when serving. We ate the beans with chippy potatoes on the side.
Below are the instruction for cooking dried beans but last night I opened a jar!
150g dried cannellini beans or a can or jar drained and rinsed.
1 – 2 onions
2 stems celery
1-2 small fennel
2-3 cloves garlic
parmesan rind (optional)
salt and pepper
1 glass white wine
100g rocket – chopped
1 dip pine nuts
100=150mls olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic- peeled and chopped
A squeeze of lemon juice
50g grated parmesan
Soak the cannellini beans overnight in cold water.
Bring enough water to cover the beans to the boil then drain and rinse the beans, tip them into the pot and bring back to the boil. When the beans are boiling turn to a low simmer and cook gently for 40 minutes then check them to see if they are tender, they will probably need more time so if they need longer cooking check every ten minutes until the beans are cooked. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
Whilst the beans are cooking, peel and chop the onions. Heat a saucepan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom then add the onions. When the onions are sizzling reduce the heat and cook for five minutes.
Wash the celery and chop into four strips lengthwise then chop into a small dice and add to the onions.
Wash the fennel, chop in half then slice thinly and add to the pot.
Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper – this will help the vegetables to melt down and add the Parmesan rind if you have one.
Cook the vegetables gently until they are are soft and translucent, this will take 20-30 minutes, then peel and chop the garlic and stir in. Cook for another five minutes then add a glass of white wine, let it bubble up then add the drained beans and enough cooking liquid to just cover the beans. Use water or stock if you have opened a can/jar. Season with salt and pepper then simmer the beans for 20-30 minutes. The liquid will reduce – the beans shouldn’t be swimming in liquid when served but keep enough to have the beans sitting in a little sauce.
To make the pesto put all the ingredients into a jug and buzz with a handheld blender.
Adjust the consistency and season with a little salt
To serve, put a ladleful of beans onto each plate and drizzle over a little pesto