I got an email from the very nice folk at Bon Appétit, featuring several of their favorite beans recipes.
No, not green beans, not haricots verts; dried beans.
The first recipe had me; they used one of those “multi-pot” pressure cookers, and I just so happen to have one. The recipe also looked wicked tasty; Gigante beans in a spiced tomato sauce served with Feta cheese and lemon slices.
Only problem was, I went to several of my usual markets, and none carried the large Greek Gigante beans, so, I went ahead and bough a bag o’ navy beans.
A note on the beans: the nice folk at B.A. said that the gigante beans would cook in about 50 minutes in the pressure cooker to a tender, creamy goodness, and that other, smaller beans would probably take less time; but my much smaller navy beans took about 50 minutes to reach the texture I was expecting. I cooked mine for 35 minutes under high pressure, checked the beans, then locked ’em down and went for another 15 minutes, again under high pressure, perfect!
1/4 cup peanut or veggie oil
•1 sweet onion, diced
•4 cloves garlic, minced
•1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
•1/2 cup dry white wine
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce (optional)
•1 tsp Bridgeport Seasoning*
•1 lb navy beans
•1 bay leaf
•2 tsp kosher salt
•1 (28 oz) can peeled tomatoes
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•Crumbled feta cheese
*Bridgeport Seasoning is an herb and cheese blend from my favorite spice merchants, The Spice House. You can easily order some on line if you’re out of the Chicago-Milwaukee area; or, just use your go-to veggie seasoning blend. After tasting these beans, I would go so far as to say a bit of your fave steak seasoning might could be a good thing here, too. McCormick’s Chipotle & Roasted Garlic “Grill Mates” blend is easily available most places, and has no funky ingredients added.
Rinse the beans off and sort through, discarding any funky looking bits.
Set your pot to “sauté” (or whatever similar button your pot has) and pour in the quarter cup of oil. I know it seems like a lot, but don’t fret.
Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion and sauté for about nine minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent.
Tip the garlic and crushed red pepper into the pot and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes, until the garlic is nicely fragrant.
Add the wine – I opened a nice chardonnay and enjoyed the rest while I was cooking the beans – and bring to a boil. Simmer (just keep the pot on ‘sauté’) until most of the liquid has cooked off the the pan is almost dry, mebbe five minutes more.
Add the beans, the Kosher salt, five cups of water, and the bay leaf. Seal the pot according to manufacturer’s instructions and set for 35 minutes at HIGH pressure.
Once the cycle has finished, release the pressure and check the beans. I was looking for “tender and creamy” – according to the original recipe, and mine were close, but not quite there. Tasted good, though.
I resealed the pot and cooked for another 15 minutes under HIGH pressure.
Give the beans a taste. The crushed red pepper might be a bit, ermmm, assertive for some folk, but remember, you’re gonna be adding that can of tomatoes. The finished beans had just a bit of a zip that we thought nice, and did not bother my less spicy food tolerant mom-in-law a bit. Add a bit more salt, if you think it’s needed. I didn’t.
Break the tomatoes up and add to the beans, along with any liquid from the can and the dried oregano.
Set the pot to medium – I hit the “simmer” button on mine – and cook for about 3o minutes, until the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened nicely.
Serve the beans Feta cheese crumbled over the top, and a fresh squeeze of lemon. You could even offer additional crushed red pepper and/or hot sauce for those so inclined.
The recipe says that this will feed six.
Admittedly, I served this as a side, but…
The three of us enjoyed them with dinner on Saturday night, then I brought leftovers to share over lunch with friends on Monday (four folk), and then two of us thoroughly enjoyed them for lunch – this time with shredded Swiss cheese as I was out of Feta – on Tuesday.
I still have some beans in the fridge.
Good thing they’re so very darned tasty.