Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 13: Dapple Grey Beans

When I pulled the Dapple Grey Beans out of my box of beans in the basement, I hadn't done a search online for recipe inspiration yet. And then I did. There's next to none. So, I decided to simply cook the beans on the day I had more home-time, and figure out what to do with them later.

Not having a specific plan, I plainly cooked them. First, washing and sorting (sadly, I forgot to soak them the night before), then putting them in a deep pot, covering them with a couple inches of water. I brought them to a boil over medium heat and then lowered and let them simmer for ~1.5 hours, until soft. I took them off the heat, added ~1 teaspoons of salt and let them sit ~10-15 minutes. Finally, I drained them, reserving ~cup cooking liquid, just in case.

The cooled Dapple Greys were good. Roughly pinto bean size, but nutty with a greater depth of flavor than pintos; a meaty texture. I tried to think how to use them. They would hold up brilliantly to any recipe using canned pintos, and could take stronger flavors than many beans, without getting 'lost'. Still, I had no idea what to make with them.

I finally reached out to my brother & sister-in-law, who are bean cooking experts. They suggested pesto (since the beans could stand up to strong flavors). I never would have come up with that, which is why I consider them the bean experts!

With my brother, Andy's, and sister-in-law, Valerie's, inspiration, I ended up throwing together a watercress/pine nut pesto (since I already had the ingredients), and viola! Below is what I came up with...

Watercress Pesto with Dapple Grey Beans 
  • Half of 1 pound dry Dapple Grey Beans, cooked, ~1 cup cooking liquid reserved
  • 4 ounces watercress, rinsed, shaken dry
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste
  • Cook beans (as seen above)
  • Use food processor to blend watercress, peeled garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, oil and salt until pasty in texture.
  • Add ~1/4 cup resulting pesto to half of the pound of cooked beans.

  • Wonderful served over rice.
  • Significantly better after ~48 hours, as the flavors blend.
  • The pesto is great baked on focaccia bread, too (there's roughly 1 cup pesto, so 2-3 more meals worth). 
  • The pesto was phenomenal, but likely would have been even better with parmesan as an ingredient...however, since I'm dairy-free for my highly-sensitive nursling, I omitted and it was still the best pesto I've ever made.

Have a great week!

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