Saturday, October 15, 2011

Humble Home-Cooked Beans

I do love the convenience of canned beans, but a while back, I figured I'd get my tail in gear and learn how to make them from scratch.  Here was the first recipe I ever tried.

About the time I get home from work, Jamie Oliver's show, JAMIE AT HOME is usually on the Cooking Chanel.  I find myself drawn to this show because I am a HUGE fan of Jamie's simple and rustic style, and his drop-dead GORGEOUS garden (which he probably does not tend himself, but, oh well...)  Even thought there is meat on most of the plates he creates, I still find there is a lot of inspiration to be had here.

So when a vegan recipe comes along on his show, I get a little excited!

"My first thought when I saw these beans on a menu in Italy was "Beans on toast?" But then I tasted them. I felt pretty humbled that such a simple dish had been made to taste so gorgeous". Jamie Oliver

I don't think I'll ever buy white beans in a can again. I LOVE the flavor in this recipe!! It's finally nice and refreshing to see a bean recipe on network television, cooked from scratch, with OUT using bacon, salt pork or pancetta in the base :) This makes a wonderful side dish to a Mediterranean meal, or served as bruscetta over toasted garlic bread.

I did find his use of cherry tomatoes in the cooking liquid a bit out of the ordinary.  I had read TONS of cookbooks and blogs about cooking beans from scratch, and they all had the general consensus that acidic foods should NOT be used when cooking beans... But, I figured if it works for Jamie (and he has a cooking show, restaurants and cookbooks deals) it can work for me.  Plus, what's the harm in two cherry tomatoes with their skins on anyway...


For the beans:
11 oz dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water for at least 12 hours (the 11 oz is translated from the English original: 300 grams.  I used 1 lb of dried beans, and it was just fine)
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
A few sprigs fresh thyme
A sprig fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 stick celery, trimmed
1 small potato, peeled and halved
2 cherry tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
4 slices rustic Italian bread

  • Drain the soaked beans, then give them a good wash.
  • Place them in a deep pot and cover them with cold water.
  • Throw in the garlic, herb sprigs, bay leaves, celery stick, potato and tomatoes.
  • Place the beans on the heat and slowly bring to the boil.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 45 minutes to an hour, until soft and cooked nicely. Skim if necessary, topping up with boiling water from the kettle if you need to.
  • When the beans are cooked, drain them in a colander, reserving enough of the cooking water to cover them halfway up when put back in the pot.
  • Remove the garlic, herbs, celery, potato and tomatoes from the beans. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and pinch the skin off the tomatoes.
  • Put the garlic, tomatoes and potato onto a plate, mash them with a fork and stir back into the beans.
  • Season well with salt and pepper, and pour in up to 3 TBSP of extra-virgin olive oil and a few splashes of vinegar.
  • Serve on some toasted crusty Italian bread. I brushed mine with olive oil and garlic
I have to say, this could very well be my request for last meal! ^_^

So, if you have yet to venture into the world of dried beans, I encourage you to give it a go!  Not only can you save yourself lots of $$$, but the taste and texture of a fresh batch of home cooked beans beats canned any day...


  1. Lovely! I really love making beans from dried. Yours look so so good!

  2. YUM! I love a big pot of beans!

    I nominated you for the Liebster Blog award!

    Have a lovely day!

  3. Just made baby limas in the slow cooker this week. I can't wait to try these.

  4. have you tried your dried beans in a pressure cooker yet? has changed my life! you dont even need to soak them... I usually still do, but just for a few hours. Then you put them in the pressure cooker for 20 min and voila. deelisH! i like the idea of making crostini without mushing up the beans... i'll give this a go for sure! :)