Flageolet Bean Stew with Braised GreensFebruary 22, 2010
This weekend was rainy and cold: the perfect weather for beans and braised greens. The particular kind of bean that I used here was a flageolet, a small pale green french variety that you can find at the farmer’s market or local gourmet foodstore (or here). If you can’t find these, use any small white bean such as Great Northern or Navy.
There are so many varieties to this dish, so feel free to mix it up. In the recipe below, I’m going to list shallots, for instance, but I was out of shallots when I made them and used a sliced scallion instead. Feel free to mix it up, but the basic concept is the same.
The recipe below serves 2 or 3 dinner sized portions. Feel free to adjust as necessary.
Flageolet Bean Stew
1 cup flageolet beans, or other small white bean, picked over and soaked overnight, then cooked according to the package. (I’ll do another post later on cooking beans, but a good primer can be found here)
1 slice of bacon, diced into small cubes
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
2 small carrots, minced
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme or rosemary, or both
1 pinch of kosher salt
1/4 c. peeled, chopped tomatoes (canned is fine and in fact I prefer it here, but drain off some of the liquid)
1 cup chicken or beef broth
- In a small dutch oven, cook the bacon until crispy and the fat is rendered. Reserve the bacon pieces.
- Add the minced shallots and cook over medium heat until translucent, about one minute
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more
- Add carrots, celery, bay leaf, cloves, herbs, and salt
- Continue to saute for a few minutes more until all the vegetables begin to soften. Your kitchen should be smelling blissfully delicious right about now.
- Add tomatoes and cook until the liquid is evaporated
- Add beans and stir to combine with other ingredients. Careful not to break up or mash the beans.
- Add the broth so that it just covers the beans and cook on a low simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Taste and add salt and cracked pepper if you’d like. Top with the bacon bits and braised greens (recipe follows)
I’m not going to go through this like a formal recipe, actually. This is more a technique, and I think it should be quite loose. You can do this on the stovetop, in the oven, or frankly in the microwave (but, don’t, there’s no need). The basic concept is to braise any hearty greens over a period of time until soft and tender.
My favorite greens to braise include beet greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, and kale. Some farmer’s markets stands sell a mixture of many types of greens and these are wonderful to pick up with their variety of textures and flavors.
One thing that I say a lot is that you don’t need to overcook these greens. Once they are soft and a bit tender, stop cooking them and eat!
Here’s the idea: saute some shallots or onions along with garlic in a small amount of butter or oil (or both). Add greens and stir until the greens are coated in the fat and begin to wilt. Add a small amount of wine and stir, then add about a 1/2 cup of broth or water. Turn heat down to low and cover.
Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the greens dry out, add a little more liquid. If they are still not quite tender after 15 minutes, continue to cook a few minutes longer.