Thursday, 29 October 2009

Braised White Beans & Root Vegetables

For some reason, I don't make this very often. Then I make it, and realize I'm missing out. Sure, it seems rather plain and basic, but it's so very, very good in its plain and basic way, like Shaker furniture. Mild - at least as mild as something with that much garlic can be - but richly and subtly flavoured by the Jerusalem artichokes, and it sits easily on the stomach. You could serve it with any kind of roast or chops, but it is perfectly capable of holding its own as a vegetarian main dish, which is how I generally serve it. Leftovers reheat very nicely, should you actually manage to have any. I always think it should make two meals, but we always both go back for seconds and what is left is more of a snack.

I'm pretty sure I got this recipe, or at least its progenitor, from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.

4 to 6 servings
1 1/2 to 2 hours - 30 minutes prep time;
overnight if including preparing the beans.

Braised White Beans and Root Vegetables
Prepare the Beans:
2 cups white pea (navy) beans
OR white kidney beans

Put the beans in a pot with water to cover, and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let them soak overnight (best) or 3 or 4 hours at least. Change the water, and bring them to a boil. Simmer until barely tender. This can be done in advance and the beans kept in the fridge for up to three days before finishing the dish.

Prepare the Vegetables and Bake:
6 to 8 large Jerusalem artichokes
1 fist-sized piece of celeriac,
OR 2 or 3 stalks of celery
1 large carrot
1 large potato
1 medium kohlrabi (optional)
1 large onion OR leek
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
2 or 3 tablespoons sunflower seed oil
the juice of 1 large lemon
salt & pepper; plenty of both

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Put the beans and their cooking water in a large baking dish with a cover. Add the Jerusalem artichokes, peeled (if you like) and cut into largish bean-sized dice, the celeriac, peeled (definitely) and cut into bean-sized dice, the carrot, peeled and cut into bean-sized dice, the potato, scrubbed and ditto, the kohlrabi, peeled and diced, the onion or leek, peeled and chopped. Just for a change, peel and mince the garlic. All these go into the pot.

Drizzle over the oil and lemon juice, and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give it a stir, and put on the cover. Bake for an hour, or a bit longer if necessary, until the vegetables are tender.

Last year at this time I made Tea-Poached Pears with Honey.


Fames Jahl said...

WOW! I just made a batch of an almost identical meal. I took some white beans soaked them until they are a little bit tender than I sliced in some peanut potatoes I got from the local farmers market, some rough chopped carrots, and a medley of greens, again from the farmers market, of bok choy, kale, mint, green onion and parsley, all on top. Liberal amount of fresh cracked pepper, coarse sea salt, and some olive oil, than I fill up my le cresut oval baking dish with some double filtered water and place in the oven at 300 for 2 1/4 hrs -- oven is a little hot running, and voila, being a die hard carnivore for many years, I am extremely happy to be eating vegan/vegi/raw food diet for about 85% of my intake nowadays.

Joanne said...

I feel like I've been passing over simple recipes like this as well lately. Maybe it's time to go back to this simple way of cooking. For some reason it seems very comforting and appealing at the moment. Great idea!

Ferdzy said...

Yeah, guys it's baked bean season! So simple, let the oven do the work.

Fames, I like my greens on the side for this one, but yours is definitely an all-in-one-pot meal which is good and easy. Mint is a really underused herb, I think.

Latter-Day Flapper said...

I should try this this weekend, since I'll actually have time to soak beans and cook. It finally cooled off here (Texas) and these bean dishes always sound really good to me in this kind of weather.