Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week 10: Flageolet Beans

So I didn't manage to get this posted last week, but does it count that we ate it last week? This week I again grabbed whatever bag my hand landed on in my box from North Bay... and viola! Flageolet Beans. Which are French. So the whole "viola!" really felt appropriate.

Since these are French beans, I decided to make something French with them. A dish I always wanted to enjoy, but was always put off by the copious amounts of meat in it is Cassoulet. It's a rich, slow-cooked bean stew with more types of meat than I can count. So I was delighted with this healthier version I found from a 2008 Gourmet magazine recipe.

I once again forgot to soak the beans, overnight, so I sorted, rinsed and cooked them directly.  I covered them in water and boiled ~2 hours, until soft.  I took them off the heat, added salt and let them sit ~15 minutes.  Meanwhile, I started on the vegetable portion of the soup...

Shockingly, I actually followed the recipe.  And I could not be more pleased that I did.  The beans are what I think Navy Beans should taste like (but have always been disappointed by).  They're dense, strong with a nice earthy flavor...perfect for this dish...

Vegetarian Cassoulet
Gourmet Magazine, March 2008 

    For Cassoulet:
  • 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil  2 Tablespoons oil
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 (19-oz) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained 1lb cooked Flageolet Beans
  • 1 qt water
    For Garlic Crumbs:
  • 4 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 2 Tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
    • Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well (see cooks’ note, below) and pat dry.
    • Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herb sprigs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans, then water, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.
      • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
      • Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated. Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
      • Cool crumbs in pan, then return to bowl and stir in parsley.
          • Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Mash some of beans in pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle with garlic crumbs.


          Superb, hearty and a wonderful late-winter dish!

          Have a great week!

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