Monday, March 1, 2010

A nourishing spring/end of winter dish

My kids aren't big beans eaters. The dried variety that is. I can easily get them to consume lentils and chick peas, but beans, chilli, etc., well, they just weren't raised with them, and don't particularly like the texture farineuse of these most nourishing of foods. Yes, I admit to neglecting their culinary education on this level. I shall endeavor to remedy the situation. However, when they scorn the most delicious chilli con carne of my brother, who is a superb cook... t'is not easy.

However, I do like beans, be they red, white, black or green. And so does JP. So, to nourish my hard-working man as he shoveled, dug, and transplanted in the garden, then hammered away on my shed, I set some classic little flagelets beans to soak the night before, and put them on to cook late morning.

I chopped up the onion and shallot I had on hand, smashed and chopped coarsely perhaps 6 cloves of garlic, drizzled some olive oil in the bottom of a casserole and got to work.

To make life interesting, and the dish of course, I put in perhaps 6 whole cloves (clous de girofle), a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a teaspoon of white pepper corns and a teaspoon of powdered paprika.

While the spices and onions were toasted a bit in the oil, I added 4 organic sausages, and some chopped prosciutto that I had on hand.

When the onions and garlic were sweated -- and long before the garlic could burn, I put in the beans and I liberally covered with water. I then added 2 tablespoons of sesame paste (taking a note from Mark Bittman's suggested uses of peanut butter to thicken and add depth to the dish), a sprinkle of salt, 3 or 4 large bay leaves from my tree outside and left my dish to simmer.

I wanted to cook the dish on my wood stove, but, as the beans had a ways to cook, I quickly saw that for us to eat at a convenient hour within the range of what is locally believed to be lunch time (between noon and twoPM), I needed to have more of a rolling simmer going on than a gentle back burner blub blub.

Once the beans were soft I added a cup of tomato sauce (I'd read that beans don't soften in acidulated liquid, thus I held off adding the tomatoes till the beans were properly cooked), and a cup and a half of (organic) canned corn. The dish continued simmering gently till we were ready to eat.

Some simple rice, JP's lovely red vin de pays, a salad and a cheese plate rounded out the meal. Yum! Just what was needed as the humidity and chill descended on what had been a gorgeous morning, and what was going to be a misty and moist evening.


Zuleme said...

That sounds really good and I would have worked in your garden for it. I'd try almond butter.

Madeleine Vedel said...

whatever's on hand!