Friday, June 17, 2011

Savory Navy Beans

This week I caught myself scrunching up my nose at the smell of navy beans cooking on the stove. (It's my theory that old world cooks invented the "bouquet garni" to fill the house with enticing aromas to mask the bland disgusting smell of foods like beans simmering in a pot.) A quick trip to my little herb garden for a few sprigs of fresh thyme, to the cupboard for a couple of bay laurel leaves, tie them together with string, and wah-lah, a bouquet garni is made and thrown into the bean pot. That took care of that. Soon my housemates were asking, "What are you cooking?" I wonder if that little step provides a layer of flavor chefs talk about when tasting a dish.

Continuing my sauce theme this month, I made an herbed onion and garlic sauce, roughly following a recipe I found in The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld. Then I added that sauce to 3 cups of cooked navy beans, (bouquet garni removed). Two 15 oz. cans of any white bean can be substituted in this dish.

You could serve this sauce over steamed vegetables or mashed into potatoes or squash.

Savory Navy Beans with Herbed Onion and Garlic Sauce, served with steamed baby zucchini and Swiss chard.
Summer in a bowl.

Herbed Onion and Garlic Sauce

2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth

Heat oil in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion softens but doesn't brown. It took about 15 minutes. Watch your pan and stir often. 

Add spices and vegetable broth and let boil for about 30 minutes, until the liquid falls below the level of the onion and the onion and garlic are very soft. You can blend this sauce before you add it to the beans, or leave it as is to add texture to the dish.

Taste and adjust the spices. 

Add to beans, vegetables, or mash with potatoes.

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