When I want something healthy and vegetarian, these beans hit the spot. They are so hearty and creamy and so simple to make. Don’t even worry about it if you don’t have the bay leaf or oregano. The garlic alone adds so much flavor to the beans. Serve them as an entrée on their own, or grill a piece of chicken or steak to serve alongside.
2 cups dried cannellini beans
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted
Rinse the beans well in a colander, picking out any broken beans and pebbles. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plenty of cool water, and let soak for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Drain the beans, transfer to a 3-quart pot, and add water to cover by 1 to 2 inches. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Adjust the heat to a slow simmer and cook uncovered, skimming as needed, for 2 hours, or until tender. (It might be necessary to top off the beans with more water as they cook.) Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and let the beans stand in their cooking liquid for 30 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving ¾ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and oregano and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic begins to soften. Stir in the beans and the ¾ cup cooking liquid and simmer, stirring gently, for about 4 minutes, or until the beans achieve a creamy consistency. The beans should not be as thick as mashed potatoes, but they should just hold their shape if spooned onto a piece of bread. If the beans are too thick, stir in a little water and continue to cook. Taste for seasoning, and add salt if needed. Remove from the heat. (At this point, the beans can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat gently before serving.)
To serve, pour the beans into a warmed serving bowl, or ladle them into warmed individual bowls. Top with the bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil to finish. Serve immediately.
Amanda Haas is a cookbook author, cooking video host, and the founder of One Family One Meal, a website that helps families menu plan, grocery shop, and cook on a budget. Her latest writing collaboration is with renowned chef Todd English. Their book, Cooking in Everyday English, is now available on Amazon and is loaded with family-friendly recipes. Amanda’s own One Family One Meal cookbook will be released in the fall of 2012.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.