Haricot beans with Mediterranean seasonings
This dish features navy beans, seasoned with sunshine herbs and a juicy red tomato.
A pot of beans is a thing of beauty. Tiny black turtle beans that spill a juice like blue ink when they’re cooking. Big, floury white butter beans. Meaty, dark-red kidney beans. All the spotted and striped beans are there. They’re all good, nutritious enough to fill a major part in vegetarian and vegan diets. Not to mention delicious at any time of the year.
Here’s a pot of haricots, also known as navy beans, seasoned with sunshine herbs and a juicy red tomato. I sometimes serve this vegetarian stew over rice, but more often, I like it by itself in a soup bowl, with good bread and butter on the side.
There was plenty to start with. But what with the Little One and her ravenous friends and two out-of-town guests, the beans are disappearing fast.
- 1 pound dried haricot beans
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne flakes, to taste
- 4 large sage leaves
- 1 sprig of rosemary about 3″ long
- Water to cover and then some more, for soaking
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A small handful of chives, finely chopped
Soak the beans in plenty of water, overnight or at least 6 hours.
Drain them and put them in a pot with fresh water to cover by about two inches, a splash of olive oil, the bay leaf and an unpeeled garlic clove.
Bring to a boil, lower the flame and simmer, covered – for 1 1/2 hours. The beans should be tender before you add the seasonings.
In a separate pan, sauté the onions in olive oil until soft. Add the tomato, bell pepper. Cook a few minutes, until the pepper softens, then add garlic.
Add the sage, rosemary, cayenne, black pepper and salt to taste. Stir everything up and cook 5 minutes over a low flame.
Pour the vegetable/herb mixture into the bean pot. Stir, noting if the beans have enough liquid. If it looks like they’re getting dry, add water, a little at a time. Cook the beans and seasoning 1/2 hour, stirring once in a while.
The beans are now ready. Sprinkle some chopped chives into the pan before serving.
They get even better over the next couple of days.
Note: You can substitute big, floury Great Northern beans. Add more cooking water if needed.