We picked a winner for the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook! Hey Winston, can you drop me a line at contact/at/tastespotting… with your shipping address so we can get this cookbook sent out to you? Everyone else, thanks so much for playing along and if your heart is set on the books, you can find the book for purchase here! Also, make sure to enter this week’s giveaways AND the Thermador $6,600 ULTIMATE RECIPE CONTEST!!!
We asked you guys how and what food you’re incorporating into your lives, and we’d like to share one of the things we’re doing in the TasteSpotting Test Kitchen (other than drinking a giant Green Juice every day).
We’re trying to eat more beans, and more importantly, trying to cook them ourselves instead of using canned.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with canned beans. But after cooking beans from dried a few times this past year, we understand how much better home-cooked beans can be. Sure, they take time, to soak, then to simmer, but not a lot of effort (there is quite a bit of difference between time and effort, you know).
And the end result, of course, besides your own pride standing in front of a pot of beans you’ve cooked from scratch, is how good and delicious it is.
This recipe for Beans and Leeks from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook is simple but with all those sweet leeks and melted cheese, is pretty amazing. We love the method in the cookbook of oven-braising, and will be using it with different combinations of beans, onion-type flavor, and cheese often. A note: we don’t have a large Dutch oven (yet), so we did this in our slow cooker, turned on high, for the same amount of time. It worked fine.
Braised White Beans and Leeks
from the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook by Sara Forte
serves 6 to 8
1 pound dried white runner or cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (we used borlotti beans because those were what we found at the market)
3 large leeks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks, diced
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
we added: chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Soak the beans, uncovered, in a large bowl of cold water on the counter for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Drain and set aside.
Arrange a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 225°F.
Trim the leeks, discarding the tough green tops, halve vertically and rinse well in cold water, making sure to clean out any dirt trapped between the layers. Slice into thin half circles. In a large Dutch oven, or ovenproof casserole over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the celery, garlic and leeks and cook until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
(If you are going to use a slow cooker like we did in the TasteSpotting Test Kitchen, just cook the vegetables in a large saute pan, then pour them all into the slow cooker, then follow the rest of this recipe.)
Add the beans, thyme, herbes de Provence, red pepper flakes to taste, ¾ teaspoon salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir in the vegetable broth and ½ cup water and bring the mixture back up to a gentle boil.
(Again, if you are going to use a slow cooker like we did in the TasteSpotting Test Kitchen, just add everything to the slow cooker, and no need to bring to a boil, just cover and turn the slow cooker on ‘high,’ cook for the same amount of time, about 3 hours)
Cover the pot with an ovenproof lid or cover it tightly with foil. Place in the oven and cook, checking occasionally to make sure the pot is never dry, until the beans are soft throughout but not falling apart, 3 to 3½ hours.
If the pot seems dry, add water in ½-cup increments and stir once or twice. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.
Remove pot from oven and turn the heat up to 500°F. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan on top of the bean mixture and put back in oven, leaving the lid off. Cook until cheese is completely melted and brown in spots, 8 to 10 minutes.
(When the beans were cooked, we poured what we were going to eat that night out of the slow cooker and into a small oven-proof pot and did the cheese part.)