Saturday, December 09, 2006

Cranberry Beans with Garic, Sage & Tomatoes- final!

Cranberry Beans with Garlic, Sage & Tomatoes
pictured on the left

based upon the recipe Fagioli Borlotti all'Uccelletto by Marcella Hazan in "Marcella Says..."

For the beans:
1 1/2- 2 pounds unshelled fresh cranberry beans, OR 1 cup dried cranberry beans, OR 1 cup dried or 2 cups canned cannellini beans
fine sea salt

To prepare the beans
If you are using fresh: shell, discarding the pods, then rinse the beans under cold running water.
If you are using dried: put the beans in a bowl, cover amply with lukewarm water, add 2-3 pinches of salt and let them soak overnight, or no less than 6 hours. Drain.

Put the reconstituted dried beans or shelled fresh beans in a saucepan and pour in enough water to cover by 1 1/2-2 inches. Add salt, cover the pan and turn heat to low. Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer gently but constantly for 45 minutes-1 hour, until the beans are fully tender.

{Beans may be prepared up to this point a day or two in advance. Once cooked, transfer to a storage container with all of the cooking water. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to proceed.)

To finish the dish:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 or more whole fresh sage leaves, or 1 Tablespoon dried leaves, cut into fine shreds
28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped, with juices
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Drain the beans, whether you have used dried, fresh or canned.
Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan, add the garlic and sage, and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the garlic becomes colored a light nut-brown.
Immediately a
dd the tomatoes and their juices to the pan, turning to medium-high, until it reaches a lively simmer. Season with salt and pepper, and let cook until slightly thickened.
Add the drained beans to the pan, mixing in well. Taste and correct seasoning, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with pan juices.

FINAL VERSION: As written, this is a vegan preparation, and if I do this in the future, it would definitely benefit from a day or two to ripen the flavours.
As it was, I needed to serve them the next day, so made the following additions:
-roughly puree bean mixture in food processor and place in small Dutch oven (this may be done stove-top, however, I didn't have the room).
Add 1/2 cup red wine and 1/2 cup roasted chicken stock; cover and place in a 350-degre oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring after the first ten.
When warmed and bubbling, remove to stove-top, uncover, and set on a burner over medium-low. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired, and simmer until slightly thickened.
To gild the lily, top with crisped bits of pancetta or prosciutto.


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