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Posts Tagged ‘beans’

I love potatoes in pretty much any form. When I was a kid, my dad made “Susan fries,” which were pan-fried slices sprinkled with paprika. (Susan’s other big culinary contribution to my life: butterscotch chips in brownies. Seriously, try it.) Homefries made in a skillet were one of my first truly excellent dishes, and when I finally decided mashed potatoes weren’t against my religion, I fell hard and fast for them. But sometimes even I want something other than starch at breakfast or brunch, which is how we got to these Southwestern homefries.

southwest homefries

The addition of beans and cheese makes these a little more balanced and substantial. They were inspired by a dish I love at Sylvester’s in Northampton. Their version features onions and peppers, too; mine is simpler and requires you to chop only the potatoes.

Southwestern Homefries

4 medium-to-large potatoes (about 2 lbs)
Olive oil
Salt
2 c. cooked black beans (or one 15-oz. can)
2 c. salsa (one 16-oz jar)
About 2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Wash the potatoes and then dice them, aiming for about a one-inch dice. Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or in pans. Add olive oil and toss to coat; I usually use 2-3 T. Sprinkle with salt, then put in the oven.

Let them roast for 20 minutes without stirring, and then use a spatula to turn them. Add more olive oil if the tray is getting dry, and roast for 20 more minutes. Then check to see if they’re cooked all the way through by sticking a toothpick in one piece. If it goes through easily, they’re done. If not, continue roasting until they are. Depend on how small you cut them, they could take up to 20 more minutes.

(To make something that comes together quickly in the morning, you can do the above steps ahead of time and keep the roasted potatoes in the fridge. You’ll want to reheat them in a foil-covered pan at 350 until hot, about 10 minutes, before proceeding.)

Transfer the roasted potatoes to a square baking dish. Drain and rinse the beans, and then top the potatoes with them and the salsa, and finally the cheese. You can adjust the amounts of any of these to taste. Turn on your broiler and stick the pan in under it. Stay nearby and check frequently; it should take about five minutes for the cheese to get melted and bubbly.

Serves four.

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I didn’t go into this salad with a good attitude. The first batch of beans I tried cooking for it had their own attitude problems, and they pretty much all burst during cooking, which wasn’t good for this salad or my plans to do something other than scrub a pot that evening. But, as you’ve probably already divined from the fact that it’s appearing here, I ultimately triumphed and it was totally worth it.

white bean and carrot salad

I am pretty sure that this salad would be fabulous even with canned beans, which is why I’ve tagged it for a weeknight supper; I just had a bee up my bonnet after that first batch rebelled on me. The combination of the brown sugar and the tang of the lemon juice gives a surprising depth of flavor, and the caramelized carrots come out wonderfully sweet. I liked this best warm, but it could be served at room temperature or even cold.

White Bean and Carrot Salad
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Olive oil
4 medium carrots
2 shallots
4 c. cooked white beans (or two 15-oz. cans; I used navy beans, but you could use cannellini or their oddly-named smaller cousins, Great Northern beans)
1 T. dried dill or 3 T. fresh dill
3 T. lemon juice
pinch salt
2 T. brown sugar

Wash or peel the carrots, and then slice them as evenly as you can, aiming for slices about a quarter-inch thick. You can do this quickly by trimming the carrots, lining them up side by side, and chopping across all four at once.

Heat a big skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat with a splash of olive oil in it. (Start with 2 T. if you’re the measuring type.) Add the carrots in a single layer. If your skillet isn’t huge or if you’re doubling the recipe, you may need to do this step in batches. Eventually, the carrots will let off a bit of water, and then start to brown. Stir them every few minutes and cook until most of them are nicely caramelized on at least one side, which will be ten or fifteen minutes.

While they’re cooking, peel the shallots and mince them finely. Combine them with 1/4 c. olive oil, the lemon juice, and the salt. Mix with a fork or whisk to combine.

Add the beans and dill to the skillet with another small splash (about a tablespoon) of olive oil. Cook until the mixture is thoroughly heated, about five minutes, then remove from the heat and pour into your serving bowl.

Sprinkle with the brown sugar and add about half of the dressing and stir to mix. Let it sit for five minutes or so, and then taste. You’ll probably want to add most of the rest of the dressing, possibly along with more salt.

Serves six as a main dish and ten as a side; I liked it reheated in the microwave for lunches. If someone in your family is dubious about beans, you could also serve this over couscous or bulgur for a more mixed texture.

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90 minute beans

This technique has changed my cooking life. It has ended my relationship with canned beans (I never really loved you) by providing an alternative that doesn’t take hours, require planning ahead to soak, or call for a pressure cooker. The best part: it takes beans from in-the-bag to beautifully cooked in ninety minutes. True story!

chickpeas - done

I think that this (completely genius) idea first appeared on the internet on eGullet, and it came to me through the Paupered Chef. And at this point, all I can do is apologize for holding out on you so long.

Ninety-minute no-soak beans

1 lb beans
Two big pinches of salt
Water

Preheat your oven to 250 F.

Pick over the beans to make sure there are no rocks in there. (Seriously, this happens.) Put them to a Dutch oven* and add cold water to cover them by a couple of inches.

chickpeas - sink

Add the salt, and put the whole thing on the stovetop. Bring it to a boil on the stove.

boiling chickpeas

When it boils, put on the top, move the entire thing to the oven, and bake for about 75 minutes. It’s worth peeking in around 40 minutes to make sure they’re still covered in water. If not, heat some more water to a boil and pour it in.

Taste one at 75 minutes to make sure that they’re done; if not, you can leave them in for a few more minutes. (If your beans take more than 90 minutes in the oven, it’s probably a sign that they’re quite old and you should check the expiration date on your package! Nothing terrible will happen to you, but they will probably suffer in both taste and texture.)

*Okay, the Dutch oven situation. They are awesome, and not just for this, and if you don’t have one, you should consider it! There are two brands, Lodge and Tramontina, that make good enameled cast-iron versions that come in around $60 (rather than the $200+ that Le Creuset and Staub will set you back).

If you don’t have one, I have an untested theory that you could make it work by boiling the water in a kettle or pan and putting the beans in a Pyrex or enameled stoneware pan, then pouring the water in, covering tightly with aluminum foil, and baking as directed. If you try this, let me know!

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