I love beans, but oddly (or so I’ve been told) don’t like chilli. I think it’s a combination of things. I don’t like kidney beans, they’re gross and pasty, and tomato based soups etc. aren’t my favourite, also I don’t like spicy things. But whatever, this is not a recipe for chilli.
I was rifling through my pantry cupboard on the weekend trying to find something to cook that would alleviate my blog guilt over not posting very much while also hopefully not requiring a trip to the store (leaving the house on Sundays is wrong as it necessitates the need for real pants).
I found a bag of white beans and remembered seeing a post for a simple italian way of cooking beans with just some garlic and rosemary. I jazzed it up a bit and found a great recipe for medieval white beans and bacon from a cool site called Inn at the Crossroads.
White Beans and Bacon (adapted from Inn at the Crossroads)
Makes about 9 cups
1 bag of small Great Northern beans, soaked overnight
2 liters of no salt added chicken stock
1 1/4 cups white wine
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
4-5 cloves of garlic
500g thick cut bacon, cut into rough pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (which I forgot to add….)
1/3 cup (approx.) bean liquid
salt and pepper
Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl with plenty of cold water.
Drain the beans and add to a large pot. Add the wine, stock, rosemary, bay leaf and pepper. Peel the garlic and pierce each cloves several times with a knife then add to the pot as well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 90 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and set aside while you cook the bacon.
Sauté the bacon to your desired level of crispness in a large skillet. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Remove about half of the bacon grease from the pan and discard. Add the onion and sauté until soft, making sure to scrape up the bacon bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Dip a measuring cup into the beans and pull out about 1/2 cup of broth or more and set aside. Drain the beans and remove the sprig of rosemary. All I could find was the stem, all the leaves had fallen off, so I just left them in the beans.
Add the beans to the onions in two batches and gently stir to combine. Do the same with the bacon. Add a small amount of broth to the beans so they aren’t dry and won’t stick to the pan and burn. I only ended up using about 1/3 cup. This was my effort to cut some calories out of this dish by not using all the bacon grease. They still taste wonderfully bacon-y so I don’t think it hurt it at all, also I don’t miss the garlic but I’m sure it would have been great if I’d remembered to add it. Taste and season with extra salt and lots of pepper. Heat until the beans are hot and serve.
Per Serving (1.5 cups): 449 calories, 8g fat, 60g carbs, 28g protein, 1068mg sodium, 16g fibre.